Wetaskiwin and District Chamber of Commerce members learned at their regular luncheon Oct. 12 that mental health and mental illness are not the same thing.
Hosted at the Best Western hotel, the luncheon featured guest speaker Robert Manolson, BA, CCDP, certified career development professional, team engagement expert, mental health champion and owner of Powerful Play Experiences, speaking on the topic of “mentally healthy workplaces.”
Manolson, who’s worked in the mental health field for almost 13 years, wasn’t just a speaker, though. He was more of a quarterback, calling plays and getting everybody at the luncheon involved in the presentation like they were players on a team.
He focused on 13 factors for psychological health and safety in the workplace and used a variety of activities to discuss the factors, which include Organizational Culture, Psychological and Social Support, Clear Leadership & Expectations, Civility & Respect, Psychological Demands, Growth & Development, Recognition & Reward, Involvement & Influence, Workload Management, Engagement, Balance, Psychological Protection and Protection of Physical Safety.
Manolson played a brief video that discussed Canada being the first nation to develop a comprehensive voluntary standard for mental health in the workplace. Various Canadian leaders in business, government, education and other stakeholders mentioned how mentally healthy workplaces encourage things like worker satisfaction which in turn boost the organization with benefits like increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
Members were asked to pick a leader to speak to the group about what they learned from the video. Among the lessons learned was the fact Canada is the first nation to develop a standard.
Each table was asked to pick a factor and expand upon it. One table was overheard to pick the theme “Workload Management,” and discussed issues that surround it like stress, blame, turnover, exhaustion and productivity.
Manolson noted the number one comment he hears when doing his presentations is that workplaces could show more kindness to employees. Mental illness was discussed. It was mentioned that mental illness can run in bloodlines and a mentally health person can live in a family with mental illness, while a mentally ill employee can live and work productively. He said that’s what the mentally health workplaces standard is all about.
Manolson said near the end of the presentation that his family has coped with four generations of mental illness.
He noted that if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, you should speak directly to your employer to learn what supports are in place for you.