March 3, 2014 | PDF
Change is happening one conversation at a time
British Columbia — For Arto, sharing his struggle with anxiety in a large room of people was one of the most challenging things he has ever done. He hadn’t told many people about his experiences living with an anxiety disorder.
Now, he’s about to do it again.
Three years ago, the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA) invited four courageous employees from a variety of sectors to its annual Bottom Line Conference to share their story of mental illness in the workplace.
On March 5, the four will return to the conference to talk about how the workplace—and their lives—have changed in the three years since they took the stage.
“The act of sharing my story was a leap towards my journey to wellness,” says Arto, one of the four panelists to be featured at this year’s conference. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work in raising awareness around anxiety disorders and by being part of the conference, it reassured me that not only do I have a story to share, but so does everyone else.”
Every year for 11 years CMHA has brought together business leaders, human resource professionals, labour leaders, not-for-profit organizations and government to talk about workplace mental health at its annual Bottom Line Conference.
Each year the CMHA has anchored the conference in the personal experiences of employers and employees.
The last three years have been an interesting journey—for the CMHA and for the four: Lucette, Marlee Kevin, and Arto.
“I haven’t noticed any difference in how people interact with me at work, except that some colleagues seek advice on how to interact with staff who appear to be struggling with mental health issues,” says Lucette. ”I can help them think through potential actions and give them some resources to help them. I do consider myself a champion of mental health and work with our HR department as needed.”
Marlee, a social worker, and Kevin, a firefighter, will also share their insights at this year’s conference. Both of their industries have seen immense change and challenge in the past three years.
Have these changes helped make the workplace a safer and healthier place? Are we making progress?
“I know the release of the national standard [on psychological health and safety in the workplace] and BC’s Bill 14 [on mental disorder compensation] were remarkable achievements, but they are just documents,” says Arto. “So the real work will take dedicated people to keep the momentum moving forward, even if it’s just one conversation at a time.”
Join the conversation on workplace mental health at CMHA’s 11th annual Bottom Line Conference: Workplace Mental Health. It’s Personal. on March 5-6 in Vancouver and find out from the panel and over 300 delegates whether they feel the workplace is psychologically healthier and safer. To learn more and register, visit www.bottomlineconference.ca.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA)
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA) is part of one of Canada’s most established national mental health charities. Our vision is mentally healthy people in a healthy society. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness or addiction. We do this by building capacity, influencing policy, providing services and developing resources. Each year, CMHA BC together with a network of 18 BC branches provides services and supports to over 82,000 British Columbians. Together we promote mental health for all and support the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness or addiction. To learn more visit www.cmha.bc.ca.
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