Mental Health Week is today until May 9, 2021. This year, the theme is “Name It, Don’t Numb.” I find the theme brilliant.

“Heavy feelings lighten when you put them into words. When we voice our emotions, the pain gives way. So, let’s understand and name how we feel. Angry? Glad? Frustrated? Sad? It’s all good,” says the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website

Basically, let’s give ourselves permission to express our pain, our doubts. 

Things have not gotten better since last year’s Mental Health Week, in 2020. Morneau Shepell’s Mental Health Index paints a worrying portrait. According to the firm, contagious variants of concern, public health restrictions and a third wave of infections have meant that Canadians’ mental health remains precarious. 

Women have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. They often work in psychologically demanding sectors, like healthcare and retail, and sectors that have been hit with job losses, like hotels. Then they have to support their families at home. This has led to an increased mental load on women, and that’s had consequences on women.

I know that across all industries, many among us are struggling with discouragement, anger and sadness.

We need to give ourselves permission to talk openly about these issues and strive to make workplaces healthier and more inclusive. Let’s turn our society into a safer space to allow everyone to express themselves about mental illness without fear. It’s the only way we can start pushing back against the blight of mental illness and it’s countless consequences on society.  

Let’s not give up. Let’s keep it up and help each other out by listening to and standing with people struggling with mental health problems.

Together, we can get through this.

François Laporte
President of Teamsters Canada
Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Resources: 

Mandatory: A Mental Health Initiative http://teamsters.ca/en/mentalhealth/

Canadian Mental Health Association Toolkits https://mentalhealthweek.ca/2021-toolkits/

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – Free online courses on mental health  https://www.ccohs.ca/topics/wellness/mentalhealth/index.html

National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/what-we-do/workplace/national-standard

Kids Help Phone https://kidshelpphone.ca/

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/