The Defence Team talks about mental health: continuing the conversation

Deputy Minister, Jody Thomas, and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk
Mental Health Co-Champions: Deputy Minister, Jody Thomas, and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk. Photo: DND/CAF

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Military and civilian Defence Team members participated in a number of Bell Let’s Talk (internal link) events to encourage an open dialogue about mental health during the sixth year Defence has participated in the initiative.

The January 30 events helped raise awareness of mental health issues and to create a Canada free from the stigma that surrounds mental illness while equipping the Defence Team with knowledge and resources to recognize and address mental health issues as they develop.

“We need to talk about mental health [and] mental wellness the same way we talk about physical health,” said Deputy Minister and Mental Health Co-Champion, Jody Thomas, at an event at National Defence Headquarters (Carling).

Image gallery

  • Deputy Minister, Jody Thomas, and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk
  • VCDS Paul Wynnyk, Surgeon General Brigadier-General Downes, Employee Assistance Program Coordinator for the National Capital Region, Rachelle Downton, and DM Jody Thomas taking part in a panel discussion about mental health at NDHQ (Carling)
  • Defence Team members at a Bell Let’s Talk event at National Defence Headquarters (Carling)
  • Kiosks offering important information on civilian and military mental health support services at the Bell Let’s Talk events

Encouraging open dialogue about mental health issues reduces the stigma that surrounds it, making it easier for someone struggling with their mental health to open up about their problems.

“We‘ve all been through tough times. The important thing is to be able to discuss them and relate to them. You can make a tremendous difference with just a few words of encouragement to let people know you’re behind them,” as the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Paul Wynnyk stated.

Defence Team members are encouraged to continue the conversation about mental health in and out of the workplace throughout the year.

In addition to having open and honest conversations, there are many things that one can do to improve resiliency to stressors, including, getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and getting regular exercise.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling and don’t know where to turn, help is available (internal link) for civilian and military members and their families.

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