RESCON encourages open conversation on mental health issues

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

During Mental Illness Awareness Week, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is encouraging the construction industry to talk about mental health issues – whether it be trades on site or employees who work in offices

“Mental illness is the number one cause of disability in this country,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall. “COVID-19 has brought on new challenges and amplified many of the struggles that Canadians face. We must reduce the stigma and encourage open conversation about mental health issues, as that is the first step to helping those who may be struggling.”

Alarmingly, work-related stress, depression and anxiety are now the most reported workplace health issues in the construction industry. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education and income levels and, while 44 per cent of Canadians say they have coped with a mental health challenge, sadly only 25 per cent get the help they need.

This year, Mental Illness Awareness Week started Oct. 3. It is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

The week is co-ordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in co operation with its member organizations and a number of other supporters across Canada.

RESCON applauds the efforts of the Alliance and the outreach aimed at raising awareness of mental illness.

“Many Canadians in construction and other industries are living with mental health conditions year-round,” said Lyall. “We must work towards a Canada where all those who need mental health resources can ask for help and get the support they need without barriers or fear of repercussions.”

RESCON made combating mental health and addictions a strategic priority back in 2017. Since then, we’ve hosted an annual Mental Health and Addictions symposium every November to raise awareness, share resources and best practices. Our focus this year is on the opioid crisis as well as mental health first-aid training. Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming November event.

For more information on Mental Illness Awareness Week 2021 and other resources, visit camimh.ca.

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