Mental Health First Aid
/ Author: Ryan Cameron 4603 Rate this article:

Mental Health First Aid

Most of us know someone who wrestles with mental illness, but we may not be aware of it. One in every five Canadians will experience some problem with their mental health in the course of a year, and one in three will experience mental health problems in their lifetime. This means that it’s very likely you work with someone who may be experiencing the challenge of living with mental illness.

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in the Mental Health First Aid program established by the Canadian Mental Health Commission. This innovative program asks participants to think critically about their own understanding of mental health and illness, while providing the tools necessary to offer emergency assistance to those in need and promote good mental health.

The effects of poor mental health are very real, and have a dramatic impact on the workplace. A 2007 study by Desjardins Insurance indicated that 23 percent of workers experienced physical health problems caused by stress, anxiety, or major depression, and approximately 20 percent of workers experienced fatigue, sleeping problems, headaches, and anxiety between 2005-2007. Many of these people leave the workplace because of their illness, often permanently. Mental illness can rob people of their livelihoods and their passions, and can negatively impact their families.

As an advocate for good mental health in your workplace, you can play a key role in changing how people think about mental illness, support those who need help, and maybe even help save lives. By developing an informed, compassionate understanding of mental health, you can help remove the stigmas that often prevent people from seeking the help they need. We look forward to exploring innovative ways we can partner with you, our members, to support positive communities.

By Ryan Cameron

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