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Catalyst

emental health

When the language of isolation, quarantine, and lockdown predominates, there isn’t much room for words like socialize, connect, or empathize. Yet even though the pandemic has made our workplaces more prone than ever to stress and anxiety, creating a culture that gives workers the confidence to ask for mental health support has always been a challenge.

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When I first learned that Carolyn Bennett had been named Canada’s inaugural minister of mental health and addictions, I was overcome with gratitude.

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The shift to permanent hybrid office schedules in post-pandemic workplaces presents a unique challenge for managers and team leaders. Although flexible work has been shown to reduce psychological and physical stress in previously non-remote employees, a distributed team requires different approaches in managing employee orientation, performance issues, and conflicts.

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Meditations on motherhood, mental illness, and resiliency

It’s easy to make assumptions about people based on their academic accomplishments, professional successes, or philanthropic contributions. But sometimes if you pull back the curtain, you discover untold depths and hardships that reveal a more valuable story than a five-sentence biography can.

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Getting older, feeling better

People 85 and older make up Canada’s fastest-growing population segment, increasing at nearly four times the rate of the total. Also growing quickly is the number of evidence-based tools and strategies to help them live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives, which is good news, since the size of this group will triple over the next few decades.

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A tale of two illnesses

Dr. Manon Charbonneau remembers the day vividly, though she’d rather forget it. “So that’s it, then — cancer,” she recalls saying in disbelief with her eyes locked on the digital images of her mammogram. The radiologist confirmed the diagnosis, and in a moment her world was “completely dismantled.”

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Spotlight on recovery

I reached Ian Morrison at his office at the Regina branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). A graduate of the Humber College comedy writing program, he teaches people how to harness their experiences — with mental illness and life in general — into stand-up comedy routines. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said. “Just tell jokes, make people laugh.”

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Industry turbulence: Building mental health into WestJet’s pandemic operations

When the world shut down in early 2020, industries around the globe were forced into the realities of operating during a pandemic. Perhaps no sector was as hard hit as the airline industry, with many organizations laying off thousands of workers in an effort to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape of COVID-19 travel. WestJet’s organizational well-being manager Lisa Dodwell-Greaves described the experience as nerve wracking.

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Research conducted by Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) staff into early childhood mental health has helped inspire a new, multi-million dollar funding initiative by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This spring, CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) expects to issue a call for proposals devoted to early childhood mental health.

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More than skin deep

“I’m so glad you’re Black.” That’s the first thing Donna Richards hears from her new client. But as one of the few African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) clinicians working in the client’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) — and one of the few ACB psychotherapists in Canada — she hears it a lot.

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A new curriculum of challenges

September in a post-vaccinated world was supposed to hold the promise of a return to normalcy. And while there was elation when that first bell rang, a new reality has since set in — one that includes helping children manage their emotions as COVID continues to leave its stamp on school communities.

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When Mo Korchinski left prison, she wasn’t handed a kit with resources to help her turn her life around. There was no guide on how to readjust to an autonomous life. Instead, like many before her, she was given a plastic bag with her belongings and a ticket to where she came from.

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Well before the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the pandemic, there was already a crying need to support the mental health of people in the Veteran community. But adding these further pressures to an already charged powder keg makes it clear that this need has only grown. In particular, the end of this 13-year mission has many asking, “What was it all for?”

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Jann Arden’s Age of Acceptance

Only a few pages into Jann Arden’s new book, If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging, I am convinced she’s borrowed a tiny piece of my own experience with grief and put it on the page in my stead.

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More Stories

Mental health first aider: The ultimate teammate

From my very first day at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, praise for Mental Health First Aid training travelled like folklore. Whether through personal experience or testimonials from former participants, it seemed as if everybody knew of someone who had been affected by the course.

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Advancing recovery

Understanding recovery starts with acknowledging that every person is entitled to a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life, even if they experience mental health problems or illnesses and/or substance use concerns. With that basic right comes a powerful shift to a path toward wellness that is rooted in hope, dignity, self-determination, and responsibility.

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Sowing seeds of compassion

The challenges wrought by the pandemic are splashed across the news. They inundate our social media feeds and dominate our conversations (still masked and at a distance) if we run into neighbours at the convenience store or gas station.

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Teaching students to be brave, reach out, and speak up about mental health

When much of the world shut down in March 2020, HEADSTRONG program manager Fiona Haynes was heartsick. HEADSTRONG summits are interactive gatherings that give young people the chance to learn about mental health and gain the tools they need to become anti-stigma champions and ambassadors in their schools and communities.

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