Five good reasons to talk about mental illness in the workplace

    TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Mental Illness will affect every person in your
workplace in one way or another, but it's still an unspoken and neglected
reality for many companies.
    "The statistics are very clear," said Rod Phillips, President and CEO of
Shepell-fgi. "With four and a half million Canadians experiencing some form of
mental illness in their lifetime, it's only a remote possibility that you
won't be affected either directly or by a friend or family member. That's why
we wanted to give companies five reasons from our own research why companies
need to take the stigma off mental illness."

    No.5 - One in five employees on a team will be adversely affected if
    their manager or supervisor is struggling with mental illness and does
    not seek help.

    No.4 - Mental illness is the leading cause of absenteeism in the
    workplace - higher than heart condition, diabetes and back problems

    No.3 - Depression is the leading cause of "presenteeism" where an
    employee shows up for work but is not engaged in their jobs, affecting
    their productivity.

    No.2 - Depression and mental illness cost the Canadian economy 16 billion
    dollars a year

    No.1 -  Mental illness on average costs your company approximately 14 per
    cent of its net annual profits.

    "You just can't afford to ignore it when your employee is unwell," said
Karen Seward, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing.
"But the problem is how we treat people who are unwell. Depression, bipolar
disorder, schizophrenia - these are illnesses that require support and
treatment just as you would treat any other illness. If you have a stigma in
the workplace against mental illness, employees will suffer in silence and it
will affect your bottom line."
    You can promote Mental Illness Awareness Week in your workplace in a
number of different ways through lunch and learns, managerial training to spot
the signs employees may be unwell and corporate emails reminding people this
week that mental health is just as important as your physical health.

    About Shepell-fgi

    Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health services,
including prevention-focused Employee Assistance Programs. The company
services over six million employees and their families across Canada, the
United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps organizations maintain
healthy employees and healthy workplaces.

For further information:

For further information: Rosalind Robertson, PR and Events Manager,
Shepell-fgi,, (416) 355-5424

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