I really have to applaud Partners for Mental Health's Not Myself Today campaign – a campaign to raise awareness of mental illnesses in the workplace. I wish this had been done a lot sooner, but am very happy to see that it's finally getting some well-needed exposure.
Mental health in the workplace is something that isn't often discussed, and there can be a stigma that it's not a real issue. In my experiences with previous employers, my mental illnesses (I have both social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder) have been pushed aside by my employers with the justification that I'm just shy or that I just don't want to do my job. Brushing off someone's illness isn't done with something you can physically see, so why is it acceptable to do it for a mental illness?
According to the Conference Board of Canada, Building Mentally Healthy Workplaes, Perspetives of Canadian Works and Front-Line Managers, 44% of workers either currently have or have had mental health issues. That's almost half of Canadians in the workforce. Approximately 500,000 Canadians miss work every day because of mental health issues (the Government of Canada in The Human Face of Mental Health and Mental Illnes in Canada, 2006). That's huge!
Speaking as someone who somedays has to force herself out her front door, as someone who has spent six months straight hiding in her home strugling through a very bad bout depression & anxiety, seeing these steps being taken towards the awareness and education of mental health is a relief. It means that one day, someone else may not feel like a failure when they can't manage to survive a day in the office as well as everyone else.
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