TORONTO, June 4, 2013 /CNW/ - With mental health issues coming to be understood as an important workplace safety issue, more than 800 nurses from across Canada will join a lunch hour rally in Toronto tomorrow for better mental health services.
"As workers subjected to high levels of stress, excessive workloads, frequent risk of violence, and the need to balance work and family, Canada's nurses understand the requirement for psychological hazards to be recognized by employers as part of any effort to improve workplace health and safety," said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, who will be one of the speakers at the rally.
The rally is co-sponsored by Partners for Mental Health, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and CFNU, which is holding its biennial convention this week in the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.
"We see every day the need to take mental health seriously for the sake of everyone," Silas said, noting that nurses are often the first to interact with victims of violence and are more likely to be attacked at work than correctional and police officers.
"We deal daily and hourly with high-stress factors that result in high rates of illness and burnout," she said. "For our patients' sake and our own, we are committed to changing this, and to no longer treating mental health as one of our society's last taboos."
"Last year the Mental Health Commission of Canada introduced the country's first ever mental health strategy," said Commission President and CEO Louise Bradley. "Changing Directions, Changing Lives is a blueprint for change that will promote better mental health, prevent mental illness wherever possible and will seek to ensure services are there for people who need them."
Jeff Moat, president of Partners for Mental Health, said: "It's the endorsement and support by organizations like the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions that will help us end the detrimental effects of unmanaged mental illness in the workplace.
"Only with their support can we achieve long-term solutions to help the 500,000 Canadians who missed work today because of a mental health issue," said Moat, who will be one of the speakers at the rally.
Participants in the rally will gather at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow in the lobby of the Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square, in Toronto, and proceed to HTO Park three blocks west of the hotel on Toronto's waterfront. The rally will end promptly at 1:30 p.m.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
For further information:
Anil Naidoo, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, 613-986-5409, [email protected]
David Climenhaga, United Nurses of Alberta, 780-717-2943 or [email protected]