inclusive workplace

IMPACT@Work: Working With A Mental Illness

Earlier this week I spoke at the Mood Disorders Society of Canada’s Transitions to Community Program, which helps people facing a variety of issues transition into the workforce and their communities. A key focus of the talk was how to thrive with a mental illness at work, and be successful despite any barriers I may face.

It was important for me to touch on the fact that thriving didn’t mean an absence of symptoms or barriers, but rather, thriving meant that I was able to find ways to function with the symptoms, and reduce the barriers. In order for this to happen, I have to make significant efforts and put in extra work to achieve the same goals as my colleagues. Another crucial element is keeping lines of communication open with my managers and coworkers so that we can all be on the same page about what I am capable of, and what my limits are.

MDSC Ameera

(more…)

Advertisements

IMPACT@Work

I am SO excited to announce a new project I’ve been working on, called IMPACT@Work. A branch of off last year’s initiative, The IMPACT Project, IMPACT@Work addresses how our professional lives and mental health are undeniably intertwined.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen mental health become a more approachable conversation with friends, family, and other people I interact with. What has progressed at a snail’s pace is the presence of these conversations in a professional context.

According to CAMH, 39% of people in Ontario would not tell their managers if they had a mental health concern, and 64% would be concerned about how work would be affected if a coworker had a mental illness. These facts are not okay. IMPACT@Work is here to change these statistics.

Employee mental health is not the sole responsibility of the employee – it falls to the employer too. Even if we speak crassly in pure dollars, the cost of mental illness to companies is estimated to be upwards of $6 billion every year (CMHA).

IMPACT@Work will explore mental health at work in a number of different ways, including:

  • The impact of our careers on our mental health
  • The impact of our mental health on our careers and professional development
  • What workplaces are getting right when it comes to supporting people, and what they are getting wrong. The “workplace” involves three separate realms, that all need to work together to support employees
    • The company as a whole, through policies and culture
    • The employees’ direct managers and their attitude and support
    • The nature of the work itself, and the mental health issues that can be brought on by it

There are SO many stories out there, and I can’t wait to share them with you over the coming weeks. From HR professionals, to first responders, every contributor has a unique story, and each one will inspire action to make our workplaces a more inclusive space.

If you’re interested in being involved, either publicly or anonymously, please reach out to me at ameeraladak@gmail.com, or contribute anonymously here.

Our stories deserve to be told, and it’s time to hold employers accountable for making workplaces accessible to everyone.

Keep Surviving by Living.