The Bottom Line Conference invited some students to attend the conference. Here is what some of them had to say.
Email from Noreen Scarth, Mental Health and Addictions student, Camosun College: Thank you again so very much for arranging my attendance to the Bottom Line 2014 in Vancouver yesterday. It was such a treat, and so inspiring to be surrounded by knowledgeable and caring people. I particularly enjoyed meeting the students seated at the table with me, and all of Trixie’s enthusiasm and Shaylyn’s sharing!
As a student at Camosun College, I gained so much I would like to share with my peers. Paul Lacert’s “love eyes” and moosehide story was a great way to open the day. Jan Wong’s story was incredible. For her to stand up for herself and integrity, despite the circumstances, is so inspirational. And to hear about her family, her children and what they had to endure, as well as how they eventually supported her also lets other woman know that family acceptance and understanding is possible. The stigma of depression has to be crumble.
The panel of Individual Champions was so interesting. Each story was rich in content, and hope. Such a good idea to conduct the follow up and hear what has happened for them all in the last five years. Dr. Max Cynader’s presentation on Brain Plasticity was fascinating. I am keen on sharing that “neurons that fire together, wire together” with everyone I know! Although the future pharmaceuticals sounded both thrilling and frightening!
The panel of Organizational Champions was uplifting. The Canucks’ efforts to open dialogue on mental illness is brilliant. Hockey’s fan base crosses generations, crosses the country, so its a perfect platform for educating the masses. Teck’s Inspiring Wellness and Learning program seems extremely well received, and led by the perfect team of Gord Menelaws and Megan Olson. And finally, the Aburi restaurant business presentation was intriguing, and heartfelt.
Hearing about the National Standard was new to me, so I tried to follow along as best as I could. Kathryn was a terrific facilitator throughout the day as well.
I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with my classmates. Personally, I feel inspired to learn more about the the CBT program, to be able to share that one day with my future clients. I love that it is so beautifully put together, and hope to take the training in it to help others, as well as myself!
Thank you again so very much Julia and Rose. I look forward to connecting with you again in the near future!
Kristin’s Reflection: Since the workshop, I have been finding myself thinking about how issues related to workplace mental health play out in the organization for which I work. In particular, I have noticed the positive impact of recognition and, conversely, the negative effects that high workloads have on the well-being of coworkers and myself.
As part of a school project, I have been exploring how a harm reduction approach is used within our organization. Through my interviews with coworkers, I began to pick up on the idea that harm reduction can have a significant impact on the individual employee. I was surprised to learn that it can actually have quite a significant positive effect on the practitioner though it is typically seen as a method of improving care for clients. The work that we do can often be demoralizing and having a framework to return to it helpful for the team. The fact that the staff need to work well together over the shared goal of providing quality care has led to a sense of unity and loyalty to each other. In addition, a key aspect of the model is good communication, even across disciplines and departments. This has enabled the organization to foster a sense of shared values and respect. As a result, even though the work is demanding and often chaotic, everyone knows they can depend on each other for support.
The CMHA workshop enabled me to examine the various ways in which this model of harm reduction intersects with issues of mental health amongst employees in my own workplace. It has also reaffirmed for me the benefits of contributing to a psychologically safe environment. I look forward to bringing the principles and strategies I learned about in the workshop to my own work.
Christina’s Reflection: This workshop, especially the “guiding minds at work” survey, has been extremely beneficial in identifying ways that I can shape my work experience. By ranking my workplace, I see that there are very few opportunities for growth presented. I have since approached my managers asking for more support to develop new skills, which was received well. I also recognise that my workplace has a positive and supportive organizational culture and I am thankful for that. I have been using several other principles, such as workload, engagement and clear roles/expectations to request minor adjustments to my work environment that have made a significant impact on my mental health. Being able to clearly articulate what changes can be made within my workplace has strengthened my ability to work with my challenging clients. I am also appreciative of the role of management and through this workshop realised that they do not always get the support, training, and clear expectations that they need to function properly. With this knowledge, I have been able to give specific recognition to my manager’s strengths. Overall, this principles outlined in this workshop have been useful to me in very clear and immediate ways.