Bet you did not see this blog coming, but it is one that is very important. As a business blogger and social media content creator, I keep my personal issues out of the content I create. But there is something that I need to confess to readers of this blog. I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. I go through some real lows in the winter months when the days are short. So enough about me. Let me explain why I am writing this blog and what you can do to help your staff who may suffer from any types of mental illness.

Did You Know? (according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada)

  • On any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness.
  • More than 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs are attributed to mental illness.
  • Approximately $51 billion each year is lost to the Canadian economy because of mental illness.
  • Basically, mental health in the workplace is an issue that impacts all workplaces and can no longer be ignored. Also, keeping your workforce healthy and productive is simply smart business – and good for your bottom line.

One of Canada’s largest telecommunications businesses (Bell Canada) has recognized this and created a campaign to get people talking about mental health issues. The have enlisted the help of other business leaders, celebrities, Olympic athletes (like Olympic cyclists and speed skater Clara Hughs),mental health professionals and everyone affected to openly talk about mental health. Bell created a campaign called “Let’s Talk,” a day when people are encouraged to talk about their mental health issues and to make others aware that not all issues are visible. Below are the initiatives from the website.

“In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, most people were not talking about mental illness. But the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action. Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year. As a result, institutions and organizations large and small in every region received new funding for access, care and research from Bell Let’s Talk and from governments and corporations that have joined the cause. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $79,919,178.55 and we are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020.”

How can you help? On Bell Let’s Talk Day (January 25th), Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives in Canada, by counting every text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and Snapchat geofilter.

All day, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every:
• Text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk
• View of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook
• Snap using the official Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter

Learning to be supportive and having open dialogues with your staff about mental illness can be productive for your small business. The less your staffers need to hide their mental health issues, the better. Being supportive of your staff will keep them comforted, reduce stress levels and result in them becoming much more productive.