38% of Canadians say they would ignore or try to hide signs of mental illness at work

Partners for Mental Health rallies corporate Canada to tackle the stigma of mental illness head-on with its Not Myself Today initiative

TORONTO, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, in support of Mental Health Week, Partners for Mental Health announces the participation of more than 140 organizations in its Not Myself Today workplace initiative. These companies, from across Canada, are taking a leadership role in building work environments that are safe and supportive of employees' mental health while simultaneously breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness.

Jeff Moat, President of Partners for Mental Health, says, "With nearly half of Canadians stating that their work and place of work is the most stressful part of the day, and another 16% saying that their workplace is frequently the source of feelings of depressions, anxiety and other mental illness, it is clear that initiatives like Not Myself Today are vital in addressing the overall health of Canadians."

A 2013 Ipsos Reid survey on mental health, commissioned by Partners for Mental Health, also showed that 40% of Canadians say they would not be comfortable working in an environment with someone who is experiencing mental illness, which further perpetuates the secrecy and shame surrounding mental illness and the associated stigma. Not Myself Today aims to address mental health in the workplace as well as break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

Not Myself Today, now in its second year, continues to grow, providing HR leaders across Canada with workplace toolkits and support to help facilitate open conversations and engagement around mental health, to increase awareness and understanding, and to destigmatize mental illness in the workplace. A full list of the progressive organizations who are participating in the campaign is available at www.notmyselftoday.ca.

Norman Steinberg, Global Vice Chairman and Canadian Chairman of Norton Rose Fulbright says, "This is a tremendous initiative and mental health is a truly national matter. At Norton Rose Fulbright we will use the campaign's resources to help build a work culture that is even more accepting and supportive of mental health." Deanna Matzanke, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Scotiabank, adds, "This is a great way for Scotiabank to signal to our employees the importance of mental health in the workplace. We know that when employees are both physically and mentally healthy, they are able to be at their best."

Employers from across Canada including Canadian Tire, Manulife Financial, KPMG, ATB Financial and many more are using the campaign and the toolkits offered to drive positive change in their workplaces. Download a mini-version of the mental health toolkit here: http://www.notmyselftoday.ca/for-individuals/download-mini-toolkit/.

About Not Myself Today

Not Myself Today supports the creation of mentally healthy workplaces by providing tools and resources to engage employers and employees around the issues relating to mental health in the workplace. Today, more than 140 of Canada's top employers have joined the campaign and are taking action to help reduce stigma, kick-start the conversation and promote greater awareness and understanding of mental health and mental illness in the workplace.

About Partners for Mental Health

Partners for Mental Health is a national, charitable organization dedicated to transforming the way we think about, act towards and support mental health in Canada. Partners for Mental Health aims to mobilize millions of Canadians to drive change by participating in campaigns, events and activities including influencing policy, volunteering and fundraising.

SOURCE: Partners for Mental Health

For further information: Leslie Dragon, Director of Marketing, Partners for Mental Health, ldragon@partnersformh.ca, 613-683-3734

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