Mental Illness

"Addiction is a disease and we should treat it like one"

"Addiction is a disease and we should treat it like one"

 

Addictions are a heavy topic. We all have some opinion about it, know someone who struggles with it, or have heard about it on the news (“crack-smoking mayor of Toronto” anyone?). Addiction involves the compulsive use of substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, or behaviours such as gambling, shopping, or sex, which are done compulsively and interfere with daily life.

 

A Sobering Look at University Mental Health

A Sobering Look at University Mental Health

Riley Lynch, a fourth year physics student at the University of Guelph, a lover of the universe and nature, died by suicide on January 19 (Goffin, 2017). According to the recent article in The Star, this is the fourth suicide at the University of Guelph since September 2016 – the highest number seen in any academic year (Goffin, 2017).

Although counselling, anonymous peer support/crisis lines, therapy, and psychiatrists are available at the school to address students’ issues, the demand is higher than the supply. In addition, short-term issues such as breakups are focused on, as opposed to chronic or complex mental health issues that require ongoing and intensive care (Goffin, 2017). Students are at a vulnerable point in their life, due to many being away from home, often being the age when they are cut off from adolescent mental health services (Goffin, 2017). 

What Do Your Instagram Posts Say About Your Mental Health?

What Do Your Instagram Posts Say About Your Mental Health?

Can the photos you post on social media reveal information about your mental health? A new research study might have the answer...

Connect, Communicate, Care: World Suicide Prevention Day 2016

Connect, Communicate, Care: World Suicide Prevention Day 2016

September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day, an initiative organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year. That's equivalent to one person every 40 seconds. In Canada, the latest figures tell us that 3,926 Canadians took their own life (data from Statistics Canada, 2012). 

Mental Illness & Leadership

When we picture a person in a position of leadership, certain traits usually come to mind: emotional stability, social boldness, self-assurance, i.e., someone who is thick-skinned.  

It’s no surprise that in a society where mental illness is seen as a personal weakness, and where weaknesses are concealed at all costs, that we dismiss the idea that individuals suffering from mental illness can achieve leadership roles.

At times, mental illness can make getting out of bed and into the office a tremendous task on it’s own, but that’s not to say that having a mental illness doesn’t make you “leadership material”.

Articles in the Wall Street Journal, CBC News, and Forbes remind us of prominent leaders who battled with mental illness, including:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Martin Luther King Jr
  • Winston Churchill
  • Mahatma Gandhi

The authors describe how the qualities resulting from their mental illness actually helped them to be effective leaders. For example, “manic depressive people are often more creative, more empathetic and realistic than the more mentally healthy (…) these people tend to succeed in times of crisis” (The Associated Press, August, 2016), or “mildly depressed people (…) see the world more clearly” as depression “has been shown to encourage traits of realism and empathy” (Ghaemi, 2011). 

Realism and a heightened sensitivity to others’ feelings are traits that can help any boss at work be more effective at their role. Though their qualities helped them through high-pressure times, that is not to say that having a mental illness makes things easier. These great individuals had their downfalls too, just like everyone will. What this does tell us is that mental illness doesn’t have to stop anyone from having goals of being a leader at work, school, or elsewhere. 

References

The Associated Press. (2016). Some great leaders had mental illness and it may have helped. CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/mental-illness-leaders-1.3717216

Ghaemi, N. (2011). Depression in command. The Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904800304576474451102761640

Allen, F. E. (2011). Does being seriously depressed make you a better leader? Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/07/31/does-being-seriously-depressed-make-you-a-better-leader/#3445714e2625

Photo Credit: http://www.everydayinterviewtips.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/72205739-lculig-leadership-achievement.jpg

Combating Stigma through Punctuation: Project Semicolon

Combating Stigma through Punctuation: Project Semicolon

What does a semicolon have to do with mental health?

When it becomes a symbol for the resilience of people with mental health issues, a lot. Project Semicolon was founded in as an anti-stigma and mental health awareness movement. A semicolon is “used when an author could've ended a sentence but chose not to” (Project Semicolon, 2016). In this way, it represents the experiences of those with depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicide, and solidarity with their choice to continue to live (Project Semicolon, 2016).

Insurance Support for Mental Health - Q&A

Insurance Support for Mental Health - Q&A

We frequently get asked questions about insurance supports for mental health and what the best programs are. We were fortunate to have some of our frequently asked questions answered for this week's blog post by Justin Bader, a Financial Advisor at Millennial Financial Group. Thank you Justin for shedding some light onto this important topic for us. See below the questions and answers! Do you have any other questions? Contact us and let us know how we can get you the information you need.

1 Trillion Dollar Losses & Other Mental Health Stats

1 Trillion Dollar Losses & Other Mental Health Stats

The Guardian recently shared some staggering numbers related to mental health and work based on research completed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The financial impact of mental health in the workplace is a huge driver behind the work we do and the reasons companies focus on supporting mental health. These numbers are quite astonishing...


     

Eating Disorders in the Workplace

Eating Disorders in the Workplace

February 1st-7th, 2016 marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), an initiative aimed at promoting the message that “eating disorders can and do affect everyone” (National Eating Disorder Information Centre, 2014). Although there is no single cause for eating disorders, concerns about body weight and body shape play a role in all eating disorders. The actual cause of these disorders appears to result from a combination of genetic, neurobiologic, socio-cultural, behavioural, and psychological factors (Williams, Goodie, & Motsinger, 2008). Since eating disorders involve private rather than public behaviour, assessment in the work environment can be quite difficult (Tompkins, 2011).