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18 October 2022

World Mental Health Day


October 10th was World Mental Health Day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, mental health, at work and elsewhere, has taken on a whole new dimension. From telecommuting to flexible hours, from constant connection to the right to disconnect... psychological health is a subject that is too often perceived as taboo and must now be a priority for everyone.

Mental health is a top priority for youth

Pier-Luc Legault, general and artistic director at collectif Inside and social entrepreneur, Krystel Bourassa, kinesiologist, author and CEO of NeurOKrono, and Éliane Racine, and Éliane Racine, vice-president of content at Force Jeunesse, discussed the problems and solutions surrounding mental health issues.

Since the arrival of Covid-19 in March 2020, there has been a real need for adaptation, whether in the workplace or at home. At Youth Force, we note that the mental health situation among young people is worrisome, and that there is a pressing need for accessibility to psychological health support services for this population.

Indeed, the Canadian Community Health Survey, conducted by Statistics Canada between 2015 and 2019, found that even before the pandemic, young people aged 18 to 34 were the group with the highest proportion of people reporting poor or fair mental health in Quebec. [More recent surveys] suggest that the pandemic has done nothing to reverse this trend. (Rapport de recherche : Pour un accès universel à la psychothérapie ; Force Jeunesse 2022)

In Quebec, we have an accessibility issue related to the human resources available to provide access to psychotherapy. Hence the importance of raising the working conditions for people who offer this service, especially in the public sector.

Éliane Racine, vice-president of content at Force Jeunesse

For Éliane Racine, the solution lies in universal access to psychotherapy. What got us interested in the subject," she explains, "was the updating of occupational health and safety laws that took place in Quebec during the pandemic. For Force Jeunesse, we wanted to understand the different ways people were affected in terms of mental health. We realized that access to psychotherapy is closely linked to employment status. For example, someone who has insurance will be able to access psychotherapy much more easily than someone who has to pay for this service."

Employers: How can they help?

Despite these many challenges, the pandemic has opened up the discussion around psychological health, which is becoming less and less taboo. Employers have a duty to listen in order to better implement health and wellness programs, training, discussion groups or any other means to improve mental health at work.

According to Krystel Bourassa, kinesiologist, there are many ideas to improve psychological health at work! Participating in standing meetings, integrating adjustable and ergonomic desks or doing daily stretching exercises are just a few examples. The goal? Take small active breaks that are well integrated into the daily routine!

You should not be embarrassed to be physically active at work. You should be on the lookout for different techniques and not hesitate to test them to see which ones work best.

Krystel Bourassa, kinesiologist, author and CEO of NeurOKrono

Obviously, within the company itself, it is important to create a work climate that allows for open discussion of psychological health in order to determine the individual and collective needs of employees, to find ways to optimize these findings and to take concrete action to achieve this.

As for Éliane, she raised the data on the mental health service offer in companies, which includes many differences in the sectors of activity, depending on the size of the company. There are still inequalities depending on the workplace in which a person works, hence the need to put in place collective solutions to compensate for this lack.

The little things that go a long way

From what I have observed in my collaborations with psychologists, human resources consultants or experts in the field," explains Pier-Luc, "among the approaches that are put forward, there is often reference to energy management. It would be very advantageous to listen to ourselves, to our emotions that influence the energy we have in the bank. There is also a lot of reference to the importance of freeing our mind from the parasites that are in it, so that we can better focus on our priorities. In short, knowing how to sort out what is really an emergency and what can wait until tomorrow.

One thing that helps me a lot is to ask myself, "Today, if I had one goal, what would it be?'' This allows me to focus on the essential.

Pier-Luc Legault, general and artistic director of Inside

According to Kristel, the best tool would be none other than physical activity. Intimately linked to mental health, sports, walking or meditation would be enormously beneficial for psychological health. Kristel cites the book The Nature Fix, which explores the benefits of physical activity in nature, which would significantly increase the level of happiness compared to indoor or urban training.

Collectively, we have a long way to go. The JCCM invites its network to discuss mental health issues with their loved ones, colleagues and employers in order to open a dialogue and move forward. For our part, we continue to work on the right to disconnect and on issues surrounding psychological health.

Resources mentioned during the Live :