Recent news about actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death by suicide has re-ignited calls for a broader, multisectoral approach to addressing mental health.
Recent news about actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death by suicide has re-ignited calls for a broader, multisectoral approach to addressing mental health. Williams was reported to be suffering from depression when he took his own life.
In the past, issues surrounding depression and mental illness were swept under the rug – mainly because these conditions were largely misunderstood and stigmatized. Over the last few years, however, Canada has made great strides in lending voice to the issue, particularly as it pertains to the workplace, recognizing the impact of this condition not only on the health and wellness of Canadians but on the economy as well.
An estimated $51 billion dollars are lost to the Canadian economy every year due to mental illness. The personal impacts can no longer be brushed aside, either. On any given week, about half-a-million Canadians will not go to work because of a mental illness. Throughout their lifetime, 20 per cent of Canadians will experience some form of mental illness.
In January 2013, the first-ever National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was launched – a pivotal moment for the country, signaling a giant step toward eliminating the stigma that has long plagued people suffering from mental illness.
As clinicians, chiropractors and other health-care practitioners are often witnesses to the effects of mental illness on patients, staff members, and even their families. Because people spend most of their waking time at work, mental health issues also often manifest in the workplace – and sometimes, can lead to tragic endings.
The physical pain of patients frequently get a lot of attention from their health-care providers because it is the most tangible. Perhaps it’s prudent to also look at the invisible pain, the non-physical disorders, and provide patients the best possible outcomes for both their physical and psychological ailments.
Mental health advocates are right to fight for mainstream recognition. Too many people continue to lose their jobs, their families, their livelihoods, and even their lives due to mental illness.
The opportunity to save a life can come in many forms; sometimes, it’s just a matter of listening closely to the silent cries for help.
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