Monday was the beginning of CMHA’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6th-12th) and today is the launch of Partner for Mental Health‘s latest #NotMyselfToday campaign.  This national initiative will aim to improve awareness and acceptance of mental illness within the workplace.

This week is overflowing with commitments for me this week and I sense the irony in the fact that it coincides with the start of the #NotMyselfToday campaign.  I have been challenged trying to maintain my energy and taxing to hit the mark on my responsibilities.  Self care should have been a bigger slice of this week than it has been.

Layers

I am lucky that my life has been enriched with a core group of people I can rely on for advice, support, and honesty.  I’m lucky that my workplace actively works towards valuing mental health as part of overall health.

I find the statistics simply staggering.  Each day approximately 500,000 Canadians will miss work as a result of mental illness.  Less than a quarter of Canadians would feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns to their employers.

I’ve concealed my mental health concerns previously or purposefully not brought them up in situations where I might have had I felt it was a safe space.  It weighs on you, it makes you feel isolated and grasping for straws to find assistance…not a great mindspace to work from.

It’s time for workplaces to start this conversation with their employees.  By businesses creating a dialogue with their employees about mental health, we can create stigma-free work environments and improve the overall health of millions of Canadians.

1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue this year.  Real life people you see at work: daily, weekly, monthly.  You eat lunch with each other, talk in the hallway, peek into your neighbour’s cubicle.  Let your HR team know about the new National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety.

I invite you all to become part of the #NotMyselfToday campaign and advocate in your own workplaces on behalf of mental health: plan a workplace event for June 6th, invest in the future of mental health awareness, or pledge your support online.

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