Description: Members of the Federal Speakers' Bureau on Healthy Workplaces share what type of support from co-workers they found most helpful when they experienced mental health issues at work.
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 7, 2019
[On-screen: #GCMentalHealth Supporting a Colleague]
Neida Santini, Assistant Director, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: What was helpful was those people that actually were saying "Oh! Welcome back! What can I do to help you? Where can we go from here?" and that sort of thing. Or "Let me show you what we have been doing this past while, while you haven't been here." Also, it was great for me to have some colleagues that actually took the time to go to my house, the colleagues that took the time to walk with me, to make sure I was having those breaks when I needed them, having that time to take care of yourself.
Joshua Alcorn, COMSEC Custodian and Security Coordinator: There's a specific moment in time when I was faced with my reality. There was a colleague of mine that approached me and was courageous enough to say "Josh, I think, I feel that there's something going on and you're not the same Josh that I knew when you first started here. I think you need to take care of yourself." I was so tired and I was sick to the point that I couldn't do it anymore and somebody actually broke through that and entered my vulnerability and was able to tell me that I most likely needed help. That was the epitome, that was the beginning of my recovery.
Les Escobar, Senior Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: So when everything happened was when I started overnights and, unfortunately, the people who were in the management roles were not equipped with the tools to kind of deal with this; it was kind of ‘look the other way' and you know, someone asked for time off, they would hide behind the fact of privacy and say, "Oh, they're dealing with someone, just let them be". When people started to notice, they asked me questions, which was the best thing that anyone could ever do. It was acknowledgment. You know, having gone through depression, if I didn't have those questions and people asking me "Hey, is everything okay?" I don't know that I would be here today.
SanDee Vandal, Manager, Employment and Social Development Canada: It's important for our colleagues, close colleagues, to be able to understand our dilemma and I appreciate that someone is genuine with me. Not necessarily intruding, but asking, "How are you?" and "If you want to talk, I'm here." That's kind of how I am; I'm very open, and I hope that the people who are struggling around me would feel like they have the ability to open up as well.
Jessica Ward-King, Free Agent, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: Supports that colleagues might be able to offer me when I'm struggling, so when I'm not at the red zone, when I'm kind of more at the in-betweens, yellow, orange, kind of, mental health continuum model zone. I always, always, always will accept coffee. If a colleague can just see that I'm struggling and grab me and say "You. Coffee. Now." So, that's the biggest thing somebody, one of my colleagues, can do for me is just treat me normally and see me.
[On-screen: Mental health starts here. Mental health starts with you.]