Mental-health advocate and former National Hockey League goaltender Clint Malarchuk will share his struggles with mental illness in the closing keynote presentation at the 2017 Benefits and Pension Summit in Toronto on April 11-12.
After experiencing a life-threatening injury that ended his career, Malarchuk reported battling with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. During the event, he’ll share his mental-health recovery and speak about his efforts to help end the stigma around mental-health issues.
“There’s a stigma attached to mental illness and it’s not a good one. If you have cancer and you have to go for treatment, you’re going to go tell your boss,” said Malarchuk in a 2014 CBC News interview. “If you’re struggling with depression or some sort of mental illness you don’t go to your boss and you should be able to.”
A panel made up of members from Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will also discuss the topic of mental health, in particular the WSIB’s journey in implementing new provincial legislation to provide coverage and to work with employers and health-care professionals to address the challenges associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We’ve seen that early intervention reduces the impact of mental trauma in the workplace, promotes faster recovery, and education and awareness are key for employers and workers,” said Tom Teahen, president and chief executive officer of the WSIB and a member of the panel, in an email to Benefits Canada.
“It wasn’t so long ago that mental-health issues were not publicly discussed or were spoken about in hushed tones. Today, we know that raising awareness and ending stigma are crucial to supporting workers suffering from mental-health issues, including PTSD.”
Teahen noted that while there’s a general stigma attached to mental health, it’s even more apparent when an organization hasn’t implemented programs and embraced a culture of mental wellness. “Leaders modeling behaviours and actively and publicly supporting such programs are key to influencing staff and ultimately changing culture. Tone at the top is critical for this kind of program to succeed.”
Malarchuk and Teahen will be speaking at the Benefits and Pensions Summit on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Check out the group benefits and pension sessions on the agenda and register for the conference by the upcoming early-bird deadline.