Description: Members of the Federal Speakers' Bureau on Healthy Workplaces offer their lived experience and tips for managing your mental health.
Produced by the Canada School of Public Service and the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), in association with the Canadian Innovation Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada).
Date: October 25, 2019
[On-screen: #GCMentalHealth Managing Your Mental Health]
Joshua Alcorn, COMSEC Custodian and Security Coordinator, Transport Canada: The strategies and tools that I use to manage my mental health from day to day: it's really, when I get up in the morning, it's to be aware of my intentions. Then also, when I come in to work it's sure that, over the years I have always put on a mask when I went to work, and pretended everything was going all right. In reality, inside of me, things weren't all right in terms of mental health. But now, I feel good about expressing how I feel. If it hasn't been a good day, or if it has been a good day. You know, it depends on the day, and it's ok to not have good days sometimes, too.
Les Escobar, Senior Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Managing mental health is kind of a loaded question because I think the first part of it, I know for myself, is the acknowledgement that there is a problem. For me, it took a major life event to recognize how severe I had dug my hole, and try to claw myself out. I had to start slow creating small and attainable goals; creating things that I could accomplish that was maybe slightly out of reach but still attainable if I put the effort towards it. The other thing that was really important for me was finding mechanisms that made me happy again.
Jessica Ward-King, Free Agent, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: One thing that I always make sure to do is to stay grounded with my family, make sure that my spouse knows where I'm at. Something I definitely do at work is, as we mentioned, I talk. I talk a lot. They can't get me to stop talking at work. And I do try to make sure that my boss knows where I'm at as well.
Neida Santini, Assistant Director, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: The other strategies that have worked for me in my journey to recover has been being honest with myself and understanding that I don't have to be perfect. I struggled with perfection, whatever that means for anyone these days, for a long time, so I was always setting the bar really high for myself. In reality, once you understand that this is actually one of the layers of anxiety, you learn that you have to re-think your life and try to put those things in perspective.
SanDee Vandal, Manager, Employment and Social Development Canada: My journey of recovery has been understanding my own barometer of mental health. It's about myself. I realize that. I know that other people outside of myself cannot manage my mental health. I need to manage my mental health because it's what allows me to be who I am and well. The resources that I always refer people to, firstly, is EAP (the Employee Assistance Program). I have used EAP on several occasions myself, through my career. When a family member has struggled I have called them. I've called them looking for guidance on how I should approach a subject because I didn't know whether I should or I should not. My mom took her life and I didn't know if I should tell my children or I should lie. They guided me. I wanted to make sure I got it right. I don't think that people have to wait until they're necessarily in the red to reach out to EAP. Along your daily life you may come up with something and not know how to handle it and EAP is there for you.
[On-screen: Mental health starts here.]