Description: Members of the Federal Speakers' Bureau on Healthy Workplaces share their lived experience insights into how managers can support employees struggling with mental health 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 Tips for Managers]
Les Escobar, Senior Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: The one action that I've seen and tried and implemented that actually works is an open door policy. Sometimes just being an ear and an unbiased ear at that. Put all your perceptions aside and just listen.
Neida Santini, Assistant Director, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Yes, so what I would recommend to any manager in a situation where you think that there might be signs of mental illness in one of your colleagues, be straight forward, say it. There's nothing worse than when we try to work around the issue because the person knows it, so my recommendation is go directly, have that conversation, as difficult as it might be and say "look, it appears that something might be not okay, it appears you are not the same person that you were a couple months ago. Is there anything I can do to help you?" So we can contribute and do the best we can, what we can not do is pretend the problem is not there.
SanDee Vandal, Manager, Employment and Social Development Canada: So I actually do have, well, in my career I have managed a few employees who have struggled with mental health issues. Opening the door for a conversation and letting them know that "Hey, I'm here, I'm willing to help you. How can I help you? What do you need to be successful?" Those are some of my opening questions. It allows them to get in touch with themselves as well and open up the discussion.
Joshua Alcorn, COMSEC Custodian and Security Coordinator: Well, first of all, being open minded is admitting to yourself that you don't necessarily have the answers but that there is an answer and there is hope. And again, active listening is to allow the person to have somebody to say something to, not necessarily prepare your answers in advance and tell them what they should do. Just be there and be in the moment with the person and allow them to let the conversation flow.
Jessica Ward-King, Free Agent, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: The people that are struggling and don't want to talk about it in terms of health, mental health, we can just start a conversation over a cup of coffee and you know what's even better? If you start the conversation and it's actually not about mental health or mental illness, it's actually about, "Hey, how's it going? What's up?" and do it again, and do it again and build a relationship, build some trust.
[On-screen: Mental health starts here. Mental health starts with you.]