The Elephant in the Room

By: Sarah Haque

It affects all of us.

Public Health Agency of Canada findings indicate that 1 in 3 of us will experience mental illness in our lifetime. So chances are someone we care about might be suffering right now.

Today, I want to talk about the importance of being aware of mental health issues in our work lives.

Research shows that half a million Canadians miss work every year because of their mental health. Disorders like anxiety, depression and insomnia, if left untreated, can lead to end of life.

Awareness and support are critical in saving lives.

MCIS offers its staff members access to Humancare, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers support 24/7 online support. For more information, please visit www.humanacare.com.

Other forms of support can include healthy break activities such as meditation sessions or planning a healthy meal together. These initiatives can give us all healthy breaks from work and help us to relax, energize, or refocus.

Getting the help we all need is an important part of treating mental disorders. So here’s how we can recognize the signs of mental distress in family, friends, or coworkers:

  • significant mood changes
  • withdrawal from family, friends, or favourite activities
  • changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • missing work or school more often
  • new or increased alcohol or drug use
  • talk of being a burden, or being in unbearable pain
  • talk of, or having a plan for, suicide

If we notice these changes in ourselves or someone we care about, we should reach out for help. If we are worried about someone, we can lend an ear, share our own journey, and connect them to local services.

We must remember mental health isn’t only about avoiding crisis situations. It’s about taking steps toward holistic health goals.

We all deal with the ongoing stress of balancing work with our personal lives. So we must join hands in encouraging our friends and family to speak up and make changes.

For more information on where to find mental health support please visit:

The Medical Clinic for Person-Centred Psychotherapy (OHIP covered)

Medical Psychotherapy Association Canada (OHIP covered)

Toronto Psychoanalytic Society & Institute  (MDs are OHIP covered)

Bounce Back created by CMHA accepts referrals to the service by family doctors, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, social worker or case manager.

For paid psychotherapy, affordable options are available at these organizations: 

Affordable Counselling in Toronto

Hard Feelings

Centre for Training in Psychotherapy

OISE Psychology Clinic

The Gestalt Clinic

The Living Institute

Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

For immediate crisis supports, they please reach out to the following agencies:

Distress Centre
416-408-4357

Gerstein Crisis Centre
416-929-5200

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
416-863-0511

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
416-597-8808

Victim Services Toronto
416-808-7066

Ontario Addiction, Mental Health & Problem Gambling Services
1-866-531-2600

For peer support related to mental health:

Frontline Workers’ Collective:  Self-Care for Community Support Workers

Big White Wall

Trans Lifeline
1-877-330-6366

LGBT Youth line
1-800-268-9688

Here is some other information that may be useful.

Free Online Courses:

Mental Health and Resilience During COVID-19  (CTRI webinar)

Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19

The Science of Well-Being

Mental Health Works  (free webinars re: workplace mental health during COVID-19)

And finally, some helpful resources for the mental health of staff:

Managing Mental Health Matters

Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ-IgdKJL2sInZEuxeruF7w

Working Through It

An organization called ANBU (Abuse Never Becomes Us), based in Toronto, has also created the attached resources for accessing mental health support safely while at home during the pandemic.