Mental Illness Awareness Week
Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 1st to October 7th, 2018. This national awareness week began in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association. It is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health to spread awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental illness. People frequently think of the terms mental illness and mental health as being interchangeable, but there is a very distinct difference between the two. Like physical health, everyone in the world has mental health. Mental illness refers to the large range of various conditions that affect an individual’s mental health. Mental illness is serious, real and can even be debilitating at times. This week is in support of spreading awareness for those who battle mental illnesses and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
Mental Illness in the Workplace
Statistics show that one in three employees will find that they require assistance to manage their mental health at some point during their working career. It’s important to have a workplace that promotes healthy mental well-being. Employers can promote positive mental health in the workplace in many different ways:
- Hire an Occupational Therapist to complete assessments which will inform the Occupational Therapist on the customized resources the employee can benefit from to improve their mental well-being
- Promote a stigma-free environment and ensure that negative comments will not be tolerated
- Train managers on how to create a safe and trusting atmosphere; ensure employees know they can turn to you in time of need
- Provide education on the topic of mental health and mental illness for a better understanding – see resources here
- Ensure you are following your duty to accommodate in situations where it is necessary
- Provide resources to your employees: this could include occupational therapy intervention, crisis lines, counselors, what your health benefits plan includes in terms of mental health coverage, etc.
Managing Mental Health in the Workplace
The best way to maintain mental health and illness in the workplace is to take preventative action. Having an ongoing self-care regime is a great way for employees to be proactive in preventing the negative impact of mental illness. Here are some tips to assist with maintaining positive mental health:
- Focus on your accomplishments – look at all that you have achieved versus what you haven’t
- Do not avoid responsibilities and obligations: this will cause them to build up and cause more stress in the long run
- Build resiliency – Follow the 5 As of resiliency: Avoid, Alter, Adapt, Accept and Adopt; Learn more here
- Practice self-care regularly – make time for the things you enjoy, such as reading, exercising, cooking, etc.
- Engage in mindfulness, such as meditation or grounding techniques to appreciate your surrounding
Gowan Consulting offers multiple resources and training sessions regarding Mental Illness in the workplace. This includes:
- Webinars on topics such as Resiliency, Mindfulness, and Ending the Mental Health Stigma.
- Workshops regarding Mental Health and Return to Work practices.
- Free educational tips regarding a large variety of topics.
- Occupational Therapy intervention to assist with Return to Work, Stay at Work, Accommodations and Reactivation for employees with Mental Illness Concerns.
More resources from
Images retrieved from google.ca/images/mentalillnessawareness