#GETLOUD: Deputy Minister Jody Thomas talks about Mental Health Week

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Hello, May 7th to 11th is Mental Health Week.

And I’m very happy to be here to talk about it. I think many of you know that when I was the Senior Associate Deputy Minister I asked if I could be the Champion for Mental Health for the department. And I’ve decided that I’ll continue in that role as the Deputy Minister. Talking about mental health, to me is one of our primary responsibilities as leaders, as colleagues, as friends, as family members. Why? Because I think we understand when somebody is physically ill. They have a cold; stay home, don’t spread the cold. If you need to go to the hospital because you have a serious illness and you’re receiving treatment, we accommodate that. I’m not sure we’re as good yet as we need to be and should be, when somebody is suffering with a mental health illness. And I think it is really, really important that we all talk about it. #getloud is the hashtag for Mental Health Week and I think it is important that we get loud and talk as often as we can about how we’re feeling, how your colleagues are feeling, how a family member’s feeling. Because our mental health affects the workplace profoundly. And we still have a huge stigma and have a difficulty and difficult time talking about it.

I’m personally very invested in talking about mental health. Many of you know that I support a charity called ‘Do It For Daron’, and I have supported it since its inception because I’ve witnessed the devastation felt by a family when somebody is lost to suicide. And you wonder, always, if we just had that conversation and asked: “How are you? Is this too much? Can I do anything to help?” Simple questions that could make a difference in somebody’s life. And so, through my association with D.I.F.D. and my role here as the Deputy Minister of National Defence, I am dedicated to talking about mental health. Helping employees and colleagues and friends build resilience and ensure that the Defence Team, the Canadian Armed Forces, National Defence, are good healthy workplaces for all of us.

So, thank you for your time. Thanks, and have a great week.

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