Canada Post chooses mental health as its corporate cause of choice in response to growing impact on Canadians and Canadian Business



    OTTAWA, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada Post announced today during Mental
Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) that it will champion mental health in the
workplace in response to the growing personal and public cost to Canada from
the issue. In adopting mental health as the company's cause-of-choice, Canada
Post will work to raise awareness of the issue and urge businesses and
government to do more to tackle it.
    It is estimated that 20 per cent of Canadians will suffer from a mental
illness at some time in their lives. The remaining 80 per cent will be
affected by the mental illness of a family member, friend or colleague.
(Source: Health Canada)
    "We saw a real need to lead the way in bringing the issue of mental
illness out into the open. Although mental illness affects all of us, you'll
have trouble getting people to talk about it and despite the substantial cost
to their business, even companies are reluctant to tackle the issue," said
Moya Greene, President and CEO, Canada Post. "Mental illness and mental health
have been neglected in Canada for far too long. It is time mental well-being
is positioned prominently within both health and social policies. This
company, and its employees are bold enough to bring this issue out of the
darkness, from behind closed doors and into the public light where it can best
be served."
    The growing phenomenon of workplace depression could cost the Canadian
economy some $30-billion a year, not including treatment and healthcare costs,
with $8 to $10-billion of that being due to absenteeism. Statistics show that
approximately half-a-million Canadians are absent from work each week due to
mental health problems. More than 35 per cent of work absences in Canada are
caused by mental illness. Additionally, 30 to 40 per cent of disability claims
are for mental illness and, by 2010, depression is forecast to become second
only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of disability in the
world. (Source: Mental Health Foundation and World Health Organization)
    "By openly supporting this cause, Canada Post is showing it's prepared to
do more than just 'talk the talk,' said Phil Upshall, national executive
director of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and founding member of the
Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health. "The issue is well
understood by many Canadian corporate leaders, but financial and other support
goes elsewhere because of the stigma of mental illness. We need to admit that
mental illness exists, and we need to talk about it and advocate for change.
Canada Post employees can be very proud of their leadership in this area."
    Industry research reveals a primary cause of long-term disability is
depression and anxiety. Canada Post's own drug utilization pattern shows that
medications related to depression are the third most commonly prescribed
drugs.
    Canada Post is pushing the mental health agenda through a variety of
activities. As one of its first commitments in its pledge to support mental
health, Canada Post has chosen to become the Platinum Plus sponsor of Mental
Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). This annual national public education campaign
takes place from September 30 to October 6 and is designed to show Canadians
the human cost of mental illness and how it can be effectively treated.
    In Canada 3.5 million people suffer from severe stress, with more than
six in 10 Canadians reporting they experience a 'great deal of stress' on the
job. People who experience excessive workplace stress are five times more
likely to say they have been ill as a result. Chronic stress can result in
long-term health issues such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, as well
as depression and psychological disorders. Given the incidence of workplace
stress and the impact thereof, Canada Post has developed its own national
campaign Address Your Stress -- Know it. Understand it. Manage it
(www.canadapost.ca/addressyourstress)that will encourage Canadians to look at
their stress levels, with a particular focus on workplace stress. October 3
has been identified as national Address Your Stress Day in this first-of-its
kind campaign.

    About Canada Post

    Canada Post delivers over 11 billion pieces of mail each year to        
14 million destinations. Its 60,000 employees and 7,000 post offices - the
largest retail network in the country - serve 32 million Canadians and over  
1 million businesses and public institutions from coast to coast to coast. In
2006, net income for Canada Post and its affiliates, which include Purolator
Courier Ltd., Progistix-Solutions Inc. and Innovapost (jointly owned by Canada
Post and CGI), was CDN$ 119 million on revenues of CDN$ 7.3 billion. Canada
Post is a world leader, providing innovative physical and electronic delivery
solutions, creating value for our customers, employees and Canadians. Website:
http://www.canadapost.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Media requiring further information or who wish
to arrange for an interview should contact: Jennifer Brown, GolinHarris, (613)
230-2220 extension 227 (office), (613) 614-2894 (mobile),
jennbrown@golinharris.com


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