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Mental Health & The Workplace

Did you know that each day 500,000 Canadians call in sick to work because of a mental illness?  500,000!  This is sort of shocking and sort of not.

When I look at the number 500,000 it seems like A LOT of people.  500,000 people that feel so awful they can’t comprehend going to work, 500,000 people that are so down they cannot go on with the day. 

It saddens me, but it also makes sense to me.  I myself have called in sick because of my mental health in the past.  If you compare jobs to what they were 20 years ago, we are pushed harder, work longer hours, and have double the amount of tasks to complete.  I’ve had thoughts in the past about taking a stress leave, but haven’t been able to due to money issues.  This is why I believe employers need to support their employee’s mental health, not just physical health.  People tend to feel ashamed of their mental health, as it’s not something that is talked about openly in the work place – but absolutely something that needs to be addressed.

I did something a few weeks ago that was a huge step for me.  I gave my blog address to my co-workers.  This was a large step, as this is not only a gluten-free blog, but a mental health blog.  I’d never shared my story with anyone I have ever worked with in the past.  It was a scary step, but also a huge step in the right direction.  It’s everything I believe in.  The more we talk about mental health, including in the work place, the more it is dealt with in a positive manner and the more support those with mental health problems are given.

I am so lucky to have such supportive co-workers and received nothing but positive feedback about my blog.  It makes all the difference in my life to be working in such an uplifting place and I’ve never felt so lucky to be in this role.

Other stats:

-Mental health issues cost the Canadian economy 51 billion dollars a year

-Each year 44% of workers report needing help with mental health issues

-There is 3X greater chance of lost productivity for people living with depression
-Mental health > heart disease as the fastest growing category of disability costs

These stats are astounding and heart breaking.  They are also motivating to make our work places more sensitive and helpful to those with mental illnesses.  I would love nothing more than to have this become “the norm” one day, and that is what Partners for Mental Health is working towards.

Take a peek at Partners for Mental Health’s Not Myself Today at work website to learn more about mental health in the work place: http://notmyselftodayatwork.ca/home

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