"Let’s Talk - Importance of Mental Health in the Workplace"
When Bell Canada launched their "Let’s Talk” initiative in September 2010, focused on Canada’s overall mental health, I don’t believe that they could have truly foreseen the absolute need for this avenue and its overall impact.
This impact was not restricted to only one group or workplace, but instead fully encapsulating society as a whole allowing the difficult, yet necessary, discussions about overall mental wellness and the impact it has on our professional and personal lives, as well as how the two intersect.
COVID-19 further served to elevate the need for constant discussions on mental health, as well as how we could cope with the alienation, depression and overall stresses brought on by the pandemic.
Mental health is linked to construction since it ties directly into our "Fit for Duty” policies and procedures for all contractors. Mental health is another aspect that we need to ensure is understood and openly discussed, so that underlying issues do not become overt issues for our contractors.
What Bell Canada’s "Let’s Talk” initiative did was normalize discussions about mental health. Where this subject was once taboo, it is now openly discussed in companies, regardless of the industry, and supported from the top management through the entire company to ensure that all the workers have access to assistance.
But this is not an issue that is a "one and done” solution. Instead, it is a continuous spectrum of discussions at all stages to ensure that one’s mental wellness is being properly addressed.
The OGCA has been asked to make presentations on sites and speak directly to workers regarding the issue of mental wellness. This is a topic that I care for deeply, and when I have the opportunity to openly discuss things with workers on site, I welcome the interactive experience. Everyone – every day is facing challenges! The difference is how we individually react to those challenges.
It also depends on the challenge itself. Some challenges can be seen as a call for action. Other challenges are far more difficult to quantify and act to impede action. The latter of the two are the ones that Bell Canada’s "Let’s Talk” initiative are seeing to focus on. These are the challenges that need to be addressed by someone to help people navigate said challenge.
One of the best ways to stave off potentially compounding issues is to seek early treatment and talk to someone about what you are going through. There are programs that allow workers to speak to a professional and to talk about their personal situation and how they are feeling. These services are provided to the workers through their employers and are completely anonymous and incredibly helpful. It allows the worker to vent all of the pent up mental and emotional stress that is weighing on them and may also be taking a toll on their sleep and hence their physical wellbeing.
The OGCA has a member offering through our affinity partner Medcor Canada. Medcor Canada’s Mental Health Support Service is a tool that empowers your employees to talk to someone long before they are in a crisis. Being able to talk about their everyday stresses, situations and challenges before they are a major concern increases health and safety initiatives. This service helps alleviate employees’ need to take time off work, better equips them to focus on tasks while on the job and increases their morale.
The OGCA fully supports Bell Canada’s "Let’s Talk” initiative and all programs that assist our contractors in ensuring that their workers have a platform to adequately deal with underlying or overt mental health issues.
Let’s start the process of better understanding each other’s challenges and how we can work together to get through any potential issues. Talking is the first step in clarifying the situation – for everyone – but especially for the individual facing the challenge. If you have something you want or need to talk about, we all strongly urge you to talk to someone. You are not alone! So, Let’s Talk!
For more information on Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative please click here.
Should any member need assistance with this issue, or if you require any assistance from the OGCA, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 905.671.3969.