Mental Health in the Workplace

A few mental health related pieces in this post:

Jan Wong On Depression: Journalist Talks About Struggle And Recovery.

This article is an interesting interview with Jan Wong on her new book about her experience of situational depression after receiving negative feedback on an article she had written and how she did not feel supported by her employer, The Globe and Mail, when she was overtaken by depression.

I hadn’t heard this term before reading about her experiences but essentially, it the idea that a situation can, if not treated, lead you into a major depression much as other major life events can do so (loss of a loved one, loss of a job etc.).

Included in the article are some of her general tips for avoiding depression:

  • get enough sleep (sleep deprivation can be a trigger)
  • exercise (found to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression)
  • help others
  • do something meditative
  • cut back on commitments
  • see friends and family
  • travel

I also had the pleasure of hearing Tod Maffin speak at the National Managers’ Community Development Forum on “Taking Crazy Back”  on his struggles with depression and addiction and his advice for us included the need to create a culture where asking for help is rewarded and  to move away from presenteeism (where busyness is rewarded over actual results, we show up for work when we are sick etc. )

He cited a fascinating study where drivers in Vancouver drove a course either with an actual physical cellphone or with a hands free device.  This shocked me but both groups did equally poorly – the distraction is the conversation and it gives you the equivalent performance of a blood alcohol level of 0.08% – very sobering.

As a side note, if you are looking for a keynote speaker, Tod is fantastic. He gave an engaging and very moving speech that had everyone on their feet by the end of it.  You can get some of the flavour in the link above to a snippet of one of his talks.

Lastly, here is the link to Canada’s new Mental Health Strategy for references purposes.


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