The first week in May (May 2 – 8) marks the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health (CMHA) Week where communities and workplaces come together to celebrate and promote mental health.
In honour of this week, our brilliant Project Coordinator, Maggie Archibald, wanted to share a blog to highlight its importance and why it matters – as well as some helpful resources for those looking to better their mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an new challenge to us humans, one that’s impacted our professional and personal lives – the stress, anxiety, and feeling of isolation throughout these challenging past few years has been well documented and lived by many of us.
As recent as a few years ago, few talked about mental health and the workplace, including those in the technology industry.
With the increased demand for the tech sector throughout the pandemic, most companies and their teams haven’t had a moment to slow down. Many have found themselves working long hours with tight deadlines and in fast-paced environments. The pandemic resulted in most of us needing to adapt to a remote work environment, which although was easier for our sector than others, many still shared feelings of being isolated and out of touch with others.
As the tech sector changes and grows, encouraging conversations around mental health will allow our organizations to attract and retain people. By supporting our teams’ mental health, we can invest in their mental wellbeing, helping them be more engaged, productive and confident in communicating at work.
Mental health illness costs Canada’s economy more than $51 billion every year. For companies, that’s $6 billion in productivity loss. For many, mental health is not just a societal problem but an economic issue affecting companies; we can change that together.
What can you do?
Since 1951, the CMHA has celebrated Mental Health Week at the beginning of May, and this year they’re celebrating the 71st year!
For 2022, their theme is empathy.
The Oxford Learning Dictionary describes empathy as the ability to understand another person’s feelings and experiences. So, it’s about being able to picture yourself in somebody else’s shoes and showing that you know what they’re facing.
The ability to empathize is important in both the good times and the times that challenge us.
Best results show that empathy in the workplace should start at the top; if employees don’t believe management has empathy, they’re unlikely to return it. As a leader, showing that you care about your team’s mental health has a positive ripple effect throughout the entire organization, which is powerful and important.
This pandemic has led to many disruptions in nearly all aspects of life. And it’s easy to feel stressed when rules change all the time, but by taking the time to start empathizing, you can start a ripple effect for you and many others around you.
Happy CMHA Mental Health Week, everyone!
Resources for individuals looking to learn more about mental health resources in Nova Scotia:
- Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions
- Healthy Minds Navigator
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Nova Scotia Division
Tech companies working to improve mental wellness:
- InkBlot – A online mental-health platform that uses AI-assisted technology, network effects and advanced analytics to match patients with counsellors.
- Tranquility Online – Use uses the gold standard approach to help those with anxiety called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
- HeadSpace – A digital mental health program that employees can use anywhere to help prevent stress, reduce burnout, and increase positivity.
Actionable Things Employers Can Do to Support Employee’s Mental Health
- Leverage Mental Health First Aid Training to help your team increase their knowledge and awareness about the common mental health challenges and how to support a colleague if they are struggling.
- Participate in The Working Mind, where you can learn ways to better promote mental health and prevent stigma at work while increasing resiliency.
- Offer an Employee Family Assistance Program that allows your team to share the difficulties that affect their work confidently.