Twenty years ago when I started at CBC I bumped into a colleague crying in the bathroom. We commiserated over a particularly stressful work day, and then went back to work. This talented young woman subsequently left CBC and the news business. Sadly, no one reading this will bat an eye, because many of us know too many people pushed to breaking point at work.
But now with increasingly open discussions of mental health and a better understanding of how damaging chronic workplace stress can be, we can work together to address these issues. In 2016 we know such stress can erode your health, your confidence, your ability to work, to be an engaged parent, and enjoy life. Daily we read headlines, research and statistics proving a majority of Canadians have had or know someone who has suffered a mental health issue. We also now know, mental health illnesses are just as prevalent as physical health ones, and most can be treated as successfully as a broken arm or anything else.
Recent studies emphasize economic arguments for employers to make accommodations, and tell us that educating managers is one of the leading solutions employed by progressive companies.
Sadly, research also shows young workers experience high stress levels, possibly related to the increase in precarious and temporary jobs. Remember when you were starting (and maybe crying in the washroom)? A little sympathy and kindness goes a long way. And the stigma will fade when friends, colleagues, mothers, siblings and other brave souls join survivors in speaking out.
For all these reasons, CMG is proud to sponsor a “Mental Health at Work” art show organized by CMG members. It will take place May 2-8 at CABINET, 354 Davenport Rd. in Toronto.
“I am proposing an exhibition which supports survivors of mental health in the workplace. The show will present my most recent works including some abstract paintings which depict my feelings about my own mental illness.
I am a survivor and helping to erase stigma is very important to me. I have had a successful return to work and I hope to show other survivors that it is possible for them too.” Quote from a proud producer, artist and survivor.
Canadian Media Guild (CMG)