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Canadian Nurses Association joins Partners for Mental Health’s Not Myself Today campaign

CEO announces CNA’s commitment to implementing the national standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Ottawa, June 6, 2013 In the Canadian Nurses Association’s (CNA) National Expert Commission report, A Nursing Call to Action, nurse leaders highlight how mental health and overall good health are intertwined. Mental health is supported by even the most basic health elements, such as a balanced diet, regular physical activity and regular interaction with a health-care provider. Now CNA is helping bring mental health into the workplace by joining the Partners for Mental Health’s Not Myself Today campaign — starting with a celebration today of the national Not Myself Day @ Work with more than 80 CNA staff members.

“A campaign for mental health in the workplace is important to CNA and the nursing profession for two reasons,” said CNA chief operating officer Anne Sutherland Boal. “First, many Canadians spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Further, we hear that 44 per cent of workers have or have had mental health issues on the job. If we want a productive population, we need to support a healthy corporate culture. Second, nurses are workers too. Our profession experiences some of the highest burnout rates. And because our work culture can affect the care Canadians receive, good mental health in the workplace is of the utmost importance.”

Partners for Mental Health, a national charitable organization, is leading the initiative as part of a focused drive to transform the way Canadians and Canadian employers think about and support mental health and mental illness in the workplace. Having joined the campaign when it launched last year, this is CNA’s second year with the Not Myself Today initiative.

“It’s the endorsement and commitment by organizations like CNA that will help us end the detrimental effects of unmanaged mental illness in the workplace,” said Partners for Mental Health president Jeff Moat. “Only with their support can we can achieve long-term solutions to help the 500,000 Canadians who missed work today because of a mental health issue.”

At the staff event, Sutherland Boal also announced CNA’s commitment to implementing the national standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace, as championed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). This voluntary standard is intended to provide systematic guidelines for Canadian employers that will enable them to develop and continuously improve psychologically safe and healthy work environments for their employees. One of the first actions CNA will take is to train select employees in mental health first aid, which will enable them to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in their co-workers and connect them with the care they need.

“Last year the Mental Health Commission of Canada introduced the country’s first ever mental health strategy, Changing Directions, Changing Lives, which highlights the importance of creating mentally healthy workplaces,” said Louise Bradley, MHCC president and CEO. “So, we are very pleased to see the leadership the Canadian Nurses Association is showing with its adoption of this national standard and providing mental health first aid training to employees, which puts the standard into action.”   

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing nearly 150,000 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

Partners for Mental Health is a national charitable organization dedicated to transforming the way Canadians think about, act towards and support mental health and mental illness. Its mission is to engage millions of Canadians to take action to support mental health by participating in campaigns, events and activities that promote mental health and well-being, contacting politicians to influence policy, volunteering and fundraising.

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For more information, please contact:

Kate Headley
External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca

Leslie Dragon
Director, Marketing
Partners for Mental Health
Telephone: 613-683-3734
Cell: 613-809-3476 
E-mail: ldragon@partnersformh.ca