January 31, 2018

Bell Let's Talk: Mental health in the workplace

LBpicLyne Brun, NS Power’s Corporate Health & Wellness Supervisor, is a strong advocate for mental health awareness both at home and at work. Lyne acts as the Board Chair for the Healthy Minds Cooperative, is an active volunteer with the Halifax Police Victim Services Unit, and has given speeches on mental health for organizations across Nova Scotia and Canada. In 2012, Lyne was given the Inspiring Lives award from the Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation, and last year she was nominated as one of Canada’s Top 150 Difference Makers for her efforts in promoting mental health. As a strong community partner for mental health awareness, we are proud to have Lyne on our team. For this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, we asked her to write a few words about her work in mental health.

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Mental health.

Lately, it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue.  We often hear the stat “one in five Canadians live with mental illness.” In reality, that stat is likely much higher as almost all of us know someone whose life has been touched by mental illness. Not everyone will be diagnosed with a mental illness, but it’s safe to say that all of us want to have good mental health.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It shows up in all walks of life. It could be you, your friend, a family member or a co-worker. It is not an illness that only affects a certain income bracket, an education level or an age. It doesn’t only show up when you are at home. No one is immune.  Like any other illness, we need to take care of ourselves. Do we put a cast on a broken leg all on our own?  Asking for help, seeking treatment and practicing good self-care can help move us towards good mental health. 

Everyone has stress. Some is bad stress, but some is also good stress. Stress is a normal part of life and we all need it to function.  It’s when stress becomes overwhelming that it can be one of the many things that can impact our mental health. Sometimes we need to reach out for help to learn healthy ways to deal with our stress.

The good news is that we are talking a lot about mental health these days. It’s being talked about in schools, at home and in the workplace.  For those of us who work, we spend a lot of our lives at work. Guess what? Mental illness doesn’t go away when you leave your home; it is in our workplaces as well.  Workplaces need to support those employees living with mental illness during times when they may not be well. Living with a mental illness does not define who you are any more than does another illness. We also need to help promote mental health in workplaces for all employees through programs and services that support physical and mental health. 

As a society, we need to learn to become resilient. Life is full of pitfalls, many of which are just a part of life. We experience job changes, illness, relationship breakdowns, financial issues, among many other things.
That stuff will always be in our lives, but the way we manage to get through it is what makes us resilient. We can learn to deal with things by reaching out for help when we need it and by learning new ways to navigate the inevitable pitfalls. This will allow us to bounce back, carry on and put one foot in front of the other on our journey ahead.

As an employee of NS Power and Emera, I am proud that we talk about mental health in our workplace. We’re not done yet. It’s an important conversation and one that we need to continue to have in all of our workplaces across Nova Scotia. Our company, along with many of our employees, champion causes that support mental health in our communities such as Bell Let’s Talk and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

I am one of the five. I am a Mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a volunteer and a co-worker.  None of that has ever changed because I live with a mental illness.  We all have a role in changing the way that we think about mental health.  Let’s start by looking out for each other.

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Thank you, Lyne, for your pursuit of improving mental health in our communities. NS Power recognizes that there is more to life than work and that the key to a healthy lifestyle is striking a balance between work and leisure. Our employee health and wellness programs optimize employees’ physical and mental health through a series of initiatives and services. If you’re interested in joining our team, check out our current career opportunities at www.nspower.ca/careers.