A mental health champion is defined as any person a part of an organization who takes the necessary actions to:
- Raise awareness of the real impacts of mental illness
- Challenge and reverse the effects of mental health stigma within the workplace
- Provide peer support and helpful resources to their networks and colleagues
Creating a safe and transparent workplace, as a mental health champion, involves opening up a dialogue that may make other employees uncomfortable because mental health is still deemed abnormal to talk about in certain workspaces.
An important part of being of mental health champion is to promote that mental health is just as important as emotional and physical health.
Below is how you can embody and eventually become a mental health champion in your workplace.
Steps To Becoming A Champion
Engage In Open Conversations
Sharing your lived experience with colleagues can contribute to the transparent workplace you’re working to create. Having the courage to tell others your story may give others the confidence to do the same.
Dismiss The Myths of Mental Health
Speaking to those around you about damaging stereotypes can educate those who have a negative perspective of mental illness. It’s important to explain to others that mental health looks and feels different for everyone and there is not one solid solution to cure mental illness.
Provide Credible Resources
Not everything posted online is accurate, or comes from a trustworthy source. As a mental health champion, it is your responsibility to find resources that contain factual information about mental illness. You can discover great material by looking at the websites of local mental health-focused organizations.
Organize An Activity
Running an activity gives an opportunity for your colleagues to get to know each other and feel more comfortable sharing with each other. Here are some activities that organizations can facilitate over Zoom:
- Breakout into small groups during an all-staff meeting to play a short word association game, or 2 truths and a lie
- Organize an art activity – send out a supply list ahead of time so everyone can prepare
- Set-up a trivia or name that tune game to see what random information your colleagues know
Work With Other Champions
Uniting with other organizational leaders can be a great way for you to collaborate with like-minded people and bring ideas from your fellow champions to your workplace. Having that community feel with other mental health champions can also be a safe outlet for you to share your lived experience amongst the group.
Reach Out To Mental Health Organizations
Connecting with your local mental health organization has many benefits including:
- The potential to become community partners
- Provides a trusted resource for your network
- Establishing yourself as a champion
- Fundraising opportunities for a good cause
CMHA Calgary currently offers 15 – 60 minute workshops including Stress Management and Healthy Coping, and Mental Health Awareness.
By having a professional in your virtual workspace, you will be able to encourage more open conversations about mental health.
For further information on the topics offered or to book a session please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at email@example.com. Counselling programs for Suicide Bereavement and Family Support are also still available through phone at 403-297-1708, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online through Community Connect YYC.