For the month of May, our Wellness Wheel program focused on mental health. Mental health concerns are impacted by a variety of factors in peoples work and personal lives, so we wanted to open up the conversation of how we can bring more awareness to mental health at Allocadia. Our Wellness Committee shared their thoughts on how we can talk about mental health more in the workspace and create an environment that is aware not just for one month of the year, but every day.
Elena Lanigan – Integration Developer
Why is mental health awareness so important in the workplace?
Work is such a major part of our lives, so I think it is hugely important to create a workplace culture where people can be themselves, which makes it is easier for people to speak about mental health concerns without fear and easier for them to reach out for help when they need it.
Awareness of mental health is increasing in the workplace, but we still face a world where people with mental health problems can face discrimination and challenges getting the help they need. Many people who experience distress try to keep their feelings hidden due to the stigma attached. At Allocadia, we can support mental health by ending the stigma, and saying “It’s OK to not be OK.”
What did Allocadia do for our mental health month?
We wanted to get the message of “It’s OK to not be OK” out there while also supporting a Mental Health organization. We hosted a bake sale during Canada’s Mental Health awareness week in aid of Darkness into Light. Darkness into Light brings together friends, family, work colleagues, and community members to support each other and bring mental health into the open. The DIL main fundraising event is a special morning which involves a 5km walk, where participants walk from the darkness into the morning light in the name of mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The event begins at 5am with participants crossing the finish line as dawn breaks; representing the hope that brings people from darkness back into the light. It is an emotional event and a different experience for everyone who participates. Many people walk in memory of their family members or friends that have died by suicide. For others, it symbolizes their own personal journey. This walk is about bringing people together in the hope that no one has to walk alone.
As part of the fundraiser, we raised just under $300 for DIL. This donation will help DIL offer free counseling and other mental health services to those in crisis. It is a small way for the Allocadia community to come together and help end the stigma attached to mental health problems.
Galina Lee – Executive Assistant
What does supporting mental health in the workplace mean to you?
One of the things I’ve seen at Allocadia regarding promoting mental wellness and acknowledging mental health is that the company allocates spaces in the office for work, for rest, and for play. This division of space allows an employee to take breaks and feel safe doing so in designated areas of the office. Folks can choose to work in our comfortable and large lounge/lunch room, relax on the couches, or play a game of table tennis in the games room. Being allowed time to take a break allows employees to let stress subside.
What does Allocadia do to support mental health all year long?
The first step to supporting mental health is something we have already done as Allocadians, which is to acknowledge it and normalize discourse around it. In the business world and our society, it is common to believe in showing no weakness or vulnerability, where you “suck it up and move on.” While it can be beneficial to be resilient in the face of adversity, this type of culture can warp into a mentality of ‘deal with it or don’t say anything’, which is neither healthy nor sustainable. Mental and emotional stress is magnified when individuals do not have an outlet. Normalizing discourse allows people to express themselves, share experiences, and support one another in solidarity.
We will continue to bring mental health awareness to Allocadia and provide benefit plans that support getting help when it is needed. We want our employees to take care of their mental health and know “It’s OK to not be OK.”