Forums in London to focus on mental health issues
Jan Sims, CTV London
Published Thursday, October 3, 2013 5:03PM EDT
It's estimated that nearly a quarter of Canada's working population is affected by a mental health issue, and that is the focus of two upcoming forums in London.
Strategies to deal with workplace mental health issues and mental health concerns affecting university students will be in the spotlight.
Depression has been a constant presence in Nadine Lalonde's life. She says "I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't have depression."
Lalonde works in human resources and says her current employer is understanding, but there were challenges in the past.
"I have quit many jobs, because if I couldn’t cope and I didn't know what else to do, I would blame the job or somebody at work. I would find a reason to just leave."
In fact, in a 2008 Canadian Mental Health Association study only 23 per cent of Canadians said they would feel comfortable talking to their employers about a mental illness.
That's the kind of concern Cheryl Legate of the London and District Distress Centre says will be addressed at DayBreak 2013, an upcoming symposium on mental health in the workplace.
"The loss of productivity and just the loss overall for workplaces is really, really big, and I think what employers need to start looking at is preventative measures."
Those measures could also help workers of the future.
At Brescia College the spotlight will be on mental health at a special forum designed to provide a road map to help students not only in crisis, but in skills development.
Courtney McDonald, mental health project chair at Brescia College, says "The traditional age group of 18 to 25 is known to be at the highest risk for having mental illness especially for females which makes this extremely relevant for Brescia."
Lalonde writes fiction to help her cope, along with practicing certain strategies, “As soon as you're starting to feel stressed, just put stuff aside take a deep breath and do a grounding exercise."