From May 3rd to 9th, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is hosting the 70th annual Mental Health Week. At BCLC, the Mental Health Committee will be embracing this year’s theme, understanding our emotions, by encouraging employees to #GetReal and join the conversation around mental health.
“Mental Health Ambassadors are not counsellors, but a known support available in this pandemic to help employees feel more connected. (…) We focus on raising awareness about mental health issues and clarifying misinformation. The Committee started launching internal articles, connecting with peers, and highlighting the importance of taking breaks while working from home," says James Falco, Operations Manager of the Customer Support Center at BCLC and Chair of the Mental Health Committee.
According to a CMHA study, 40% of Canadians say their mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic. At BCLC, the Mental Health Committee has worked tirelessly to encourage open conversations about mental health and create engaging virtual events that bring together employees, many of whom are working from home. One such event was Mental Health Mondays, a series of drop-in sessions where employees could connect with Mental Health Ambassadors.
“These sessions were great for someone who was feeling timid. They were able to come and see what other people talked about and that was, maybe, the encouragement they needed to reach out for a private conversation with an ambassador.” says Jamie Ferguson, GameSense Advisor and Mental Health Ambassador.
And, in January, the Mental Health Committee decided to take a new spin on the conversation around Blue Monday, as a way to bring some inspiration and positivity to a typically blue day in the year.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mental Health Ambassadors would greet people coming into BCLC's building on the third Monday of January with signs of encouragement. I took that vision and brought it to the virtual world with a 10-minute presentation filled with inspirational quotes, jokes, and music," says Shari Finlay, Co-Chair of the Mental Health Committee and Team Leader Corporate Services.
With the pandemic having surpassed the one-year mark, the Committee continues to share stories with employees to help normalize the conversation around mental health and create awareness of available resources. Getting real with our emotions will help all of us get through this difficult time.
“Support comes in many forms. Be honest, be empathic, and non-judgemental. Normalize it. There is someone who is there to listen with no judgment, no sides taken, and perhaps give you some tools to help you through what is going on in your life.” says Jamie Ferguson, GameSense Advisor at BCLC.