OPSEU video reflects on mental health of Waypoint workers

PENETANGUISHENE, ON, July 15, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is releasing a new video today that focuses on the mental health of workers at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.  

Waypoint is home to some patients who have been found not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial by the courts.  In the past few months alone, there have been four serious incidents of patients attacking staff.  

In the second video of the series Through the shadows, a worker offers a first-hand account of the psychological stressors of working at Waypoint, and their devastating effects.  "I know of about eight or nine suicides, and I don't know why but I'm going to go out on a limb and say part of it has to do with their work environment," says the worker, whose identity has been concealed.

"With this video, we want people to understand that the dangerous work environment at Waypoint is also taking a toll on the mental health of workers," said OPSEU Local 329 President Pete Sheehan.  "We deal with unpredictable patients, and our employer isn't listening to our concerns.  That kind of stress makes caregivers more susceptible to developing mental health and addiction issues themselves."

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has worked in the mental health field for most of his adult life.  He understands the struggles of workers at Waypoint.

"There needs to be more awareness about the psychological effects of working in an environment where you are consistently exposed to abuse," said Thomas.  "It's a sad state of affairs when mental health hospitals give little or no regard to the mental health of their own workers."

Click here for video

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Video with caption: "Video: Through the shadows: Mental health workers and mental health". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtF8NCta3pA

For further information: Pete Sheehan, 705-209-9050


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