There was a lot of discussion around mental health in 2016, culminating with the loss of a champion advocate for mental health awareness when Carrie Fisher died on December 27. Raising awareness is no easy task; it takes years of momentum from grassroots groups to catch the eye of media, business, service organizations, and government. It’s hard work, but the power to reach and teach the public is well worth it for both advocates and those living with a mental health concern.
In Canada, while the stigma of mental illness is lessening and people are coming forward to get help, an already overtaxed and underfunded system can’t meet this rising demand. In 2016, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) noted that one in five people in our country will experience a mental health problem – that’s 6.7 million Canadians. While many Canadians will seek treatment, soaring mental health wait-lists means many won’t receive support until they find themselves in emergency rooms, shelters, or unfortunately, the justice system. To illustrate the immediacy of this contemporary concern, CMHA notes that suicide is a leading cause of death among young people. The CMHA introduced Mental Health Week in 1951 and this awareness campaign continues to spark similar awareness campaigns in countries all over the world. In Canada, Mental Health Week takes place during the first week in May (May 1-7, 2017), to encourage people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health. Awareness is just the first step; offering support, healing, information, and empowerment to those who are struggling with mental illness or love someone with a disorder follows - ensuring that there is no shame in living with a mental illness. Raising awareness can also assist individual employees to understand their own mental health and reduce stigma in the workplace. Statistically speaking:
According to Statistics Canada, employees who work in stressful environments are more than three times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode.
Canada’s Mental Health Commission study states that the Canadian economy loses $50 billion each year in lost productivity due to persons living with mental illness.
However stigma continues to be an issue. In 2015, 64 percent of Ontario employees surveyed said they would be worried about working with a co-worker with mental illness.
Global and localized stressors will continue in 2017 so let’s collectively stop stigmatizing our mental health and help build a healthier workplace, community, and home for all of us. If a critical event or trauma has impacted your day-to-day life, turn to the registered psychologists at Gary J. Meiers, Ph.D., Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers, Ph.D. and Associates Ltd. As experienced Registered Psychologists, marriage counsellors and family therapists we have helped adults, adolescents, children and parents move past their personal crisis. Through a confidential and comprehensive assessment, we can determine the best approach to help you move forward from suffering anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, childhood traumas and many other conditions supported by our over 40 years of practice in the field of counselling psychology. Gary J. Meiers, Ph.D., Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers, Ph.D. and Associates Ltd. is pleased to offer day, evening, and weekend appointments. To learn more about who we are and how we can benefit you call 780-433-2269 today to schedule your appointment.