Description: Members of the Federal Speakers' Bureau on Healthy Workplaces (Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat) speak of the importance of sharing their stories and inspiring colleagues to take action when they have mental health issues.
Date: November 19, 2019
[On-screen: #GCMentalHealth Sharing Our Stories, Inspiring Hope]
Les Escobar, Senior Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Sharing my story has been a completely life-changing part of me. We talk about all these different campaigns that are present: Not Myself Today, Bell Let's Talk, and all these things. We talk about normalizing the stigma about mental health, depression and these types of illnesses, but it's never comfortable. The first presentation I gave, the minute that I started talking about things, I looked around the room and I saw eyes look up and I saw people nodding and actually feeling exactly what I had gone through and it really helped me because I finally knew that I wasn't alone in this.
Neida Santini, Assistant Director, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Sharing my story in the work place, has been an extraordinary experience. I found that speaking about my journey has not only helped me feel more comfortable with who I am, but also has helped me create awareness with my colleagues and with their families also. After I give my talks, people come forward and tell me stories and things about their own personal journey and the people that they love, what they're going through. It's just nice to have that other network to share our experiences, to share tips, to talk to each other, to guide each other through what we're going through because at the end of the day mental illness doesn't discriminate.
Jessica Ward-King, Free Agent, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: How has being able to tell my story in the workplace allowed me to manage my mental health? It has a lot and on two fronts. One of them is with my colleagues because I could talk to them about it and they knew what was going on and what was supposed to happen and what was supposed to be working, but also with my managers. I can remember sitting down… the first time I did it, actually I sat down my manager and I explained my illness to her and I explained the accommodations that would help me do my job better. Being open with her really helped her and me and then when it came time for PMAs and stuff, we could have an open conversation.
Joshua Alcorn, COMSEC Custodian and Security Coordinator: When I share, I often share about the problems I've had with addiction, but when I talk about that, the world understands. They know that all humans, everyone has endured something and then we suffer a little, in a way. Then, that our suffering, and how we manage our suffering, manifests itself in many different ways.
SanDee Vandal, Manager, Employment and Social Development Canada: When I do speaking engagements people are often moved to tears. I think that my honesty—I'm fairly raw in the challenges I had growing up in an alcoholic home and then my own challenges with addiction and ultimately recovery—I think touches a chord in many people, whether they're addicted themselves, dealing with that, or a family member. In my private life, a lot of people approach me for help and guidance and the same blessings have happened in the federal service, and people are not feeling like they are alone. The hope that people feel is pretty inspiring.
[On-screen: Mental health starts here.]
On-screen: Mental health starts with you. Canada.ca/GCMentalHealth
[On-screen: Canada wordmark]