Newfoundland launches workplace mental illness anti-stigma campaign

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has launched the second phase of its Understanding Changes Everything anti-stigma awareness campaign, which will focus on mental illness and addictions in the workplace.
"We are starting a conversation among leaders who are committed to changing and improving workplaces," said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services Steve Kent. "By making partnerships and bringing together organizations in communities, we are working to decrease stigma associated with mental illness and addictions in the workplace and beyond."

Mental illness and addictions cost the Canadian economy $51 billion every year, with $20 billion of that amount stemming from workplace losses, such as absenteeism.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage organizations throughout the province to promote mental health in the workplace and build positive working environments that reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and addictions. Partner organizations which have already committed to the program are supporting employees and fostering healthier and more productive work environments, said the government.

Eastern Health is one participating organization, which has 13,000 employees.

"Everyone deserves to work in an environment free of the stigma and shame often associated with mental illness and addictions," said Beverley Clarke, vice-president, mental health and addictions, Eastern Health. "By taking steps to decrease this stigma and enhancing services to support our employees, Eastern Health aims to improve health and well-being among its employees."

As a part of the workplace program, the provincial government will provide training in The Working Mind to partner organizations that have already committed to the program. The Working Mind is an education-based program that is offered through the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting.