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Vol. 5 | No. 2 | 2009

Online Table of Contents and PDFs:



 Editor's Message

--Sarah Hamid-Balma

Visions' Editor shares tales of workplace compassion and the impact small acts of kindness can have for someone who is experiencing mental illness. She points out that despite the legal, financial and rational reasons that people should care, it's also the right thing to do.

The Final Frontier in Workplace Health

--Margaret Tebbutt

Guest Editorial author discusses the impacts of discrimination and of understanding on society and someone experiencing mental illness. She stresses that the importance placed on physical health in the workplace must be extended to mental health.

The Economic Impacts: Workplace mental illness and substance abuse

--Claudia Steinke and Ali Dastmalchian

The economic cost of mental illness in the workplace is skyrocketing. High stress work environments pay the price of worker inefficiency, high worker compensation claims, high incidences of disability leave, among many more. Early intervention and treatment in the workplace just "makes cents."

Substance Use: The monster we work with

--MaryAnne Arcand

Problem substance use is growing in the workplace, and ignoring it won't make it go away. Here we find out when it becomes a disability, and what rights and responsibilities both employers and employees have.

Human Rights and Employer Responsibility to Accomodate Disability in the Workplace

--Jennifer Lynch

Under the Community Human Rights Act, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of disability. Employers need to make accomodations for employees with disabilities, many as simple as flexible scheduling. How can employers work with their employees to create an accomodating environment?

Wired in the Workplace

--Deena Waisberg

Substance abuse affects workers in a wide range of professions, from truck driving to medical. Here we can read the stories of two high-profile public figures and their battles with substance abuse while in the public eye. 


Experiences and Perspectives

A Little Help From My Friend

--Jude Morrison

A woman who works for a union representing nurses struggles with her and other's conflicting emotions when a nurse is fired after her addiction leads her to siphon off a pain-relieving drug meant for a patient

Transitioning from Disability Pension to Full-time Work: Scary but liberating

--Tara Timmers

Going from a disability pension to being financially independent can be scary, especially if you don't know what to expect. One brave woman tells how she regained her education and independance as party of her recovery journey started 14 years ago when she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

Insurance Reassurance: Disability income a must for recovery

--Ross Taylor

Having to worry about your job, income and housing can be a great hinderance to recovery. One man outlines his struggle with mental illness in the workplace, disability insurance and benifits when he was off work, and the family, friends and new employer who help him get better. 

A Triple Threat: Workplace isolation, West Coast grey and the "black dog"

--Gwen Marsh

After moving away from her sunny hometown and exciting workplace to work from home in the rainy, grey Fraser Valley, an employee struggles with depression and a demanding insurance claim. With the help of her family, doctor and employer, she learns how to safeguard against her depression and go back to work.

The Bottom Line: There is no health without mental health

--Arto Tienaho

One man shares hisexperience with anxiety disorder - how it affected his employment, how he learned to deal with it and how, ultimately, it led to the perfect job for him.

The Mostly Incompetent Employee

--Frank G. Sterle, Jr.

Low self-confidence and obsessive-compulsive thinking land this man in a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling work screw-ups. He relates the verbal abuse this earned him from employers, when a little compassion and encouragement may have been all he needed. 

Return to Work: Ready or not?

--Karen Six

Work provides income, purpose, a diversion and social interaction, but as one woman learned, wanting to go back to work doesn't mean you're ready for it. Through her own experience, she offers some insight into the question of "ready or not?"

Taking Care of That Little GIrl

--Maureen Lavallee

The workplace can be a difficult place to navigate, especially with an undiagnosed mental illness. One woman struggled with employment, and unemployment, for 30 years before a diagnosis got her the help she needed.


Alternative Approaches

Employee Assistance Programs

--Raymond W. Lam

Seven out of 10 people with clinical depression in Canada are still working while depressed. Not all businesses have the internal resources to meet the mental health needs of their employees, but Empoyment Assistance Programs, outside agencies that offer counselling and referral services, can help.

Guarding Minds @ Work: A new guide to psychological safety and health

--Joti Samra and Merv Gilbert

Employers are responsible for workplace risks that can lead to physical illness and injury, but what about mental health and safety? A new resource will help employers identify psychological risks in the workplace.

Drug Testing in the Canadian Workplace

--Scott Macdonald

Eighteen percent of Canadian worksites with 100 or more employees have drug testing programs, and testing positive can have negative consequences, including being fired. But are these tests really effective?

Stress in the Workplace

--June Earle

Stress exists in our thoughts about the past and future, not in the present moment. It is founded in anxious thinking that we are taking very seriously. By recognizing the feeling of stress surfacing, we are able to think critically about what causes this stress and why.

 Peer Support for Medical Professionals

--Dr. Paul A. Farnan

Just because it is a doctor's job to diagnose and treat illness, doesn't mean doctors are immune to illness themselves. A delicate balance has to be struck between protecting the doctor and protecting the public.

Good News About Workplace Mental Health

--Mary Ann Baynton

At least 20 % of people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. It is important for employers to identify and address mental health hazards in the workplace. But how does an employer even know where to start?


Regional Programs

Healthy Workplaces - Healthy People: Fraser Health's recent focus on mental health

--Elayne Preston and Rosemary Nemanishen

Since 2002, Fraser Health has focused on  the physical health and safety of employees. Recently, they've broadened their gaze to include mental health, with several pilot projects including an online mental health assesment tool and a resource guide for managers. 

Mental Health Awareness for Managers: An integrated approach

--Jan Mitchell

In the face of rising mental health disabilty claims, Healthcare Benifit Trust has implimented prevention and health promotion, early intervention and disabilty management programs. With other health care partners, they work together to better identify and respond appropriately to mental disabilites.

Quittin' Time: A smoking cessation program for the BC Public Service

--Maureen Foxgord

A new program, tailored to each person's needs, will help employees quit smoking and save employers in health care costs, absenteeism and productivity losses.

Employers Who Are Walking the Walk

--Donna Panitow

CMHA has worked with many employers through our Mental Health Works workshops and the Bottom Line Conference. See how just a few of these employers are coming up with innovative approaches to reaching their vision of a healthy workplace.

Mental Health Works

--Mary Ann Baynton and Margaret Tebbutt

The mission of Mental Health Works is "improving working lives." Read how, through practical training, supervisors and employees can learn to recognize when an employee, co-worker, or themselves may be experiencing a mental health issue. 

What is eVisions?

You asked and we answered. Visions, BC’s award-winning mental health and addictions journal is now just a click away! Visions is a forum for the many voices of people who care about mental health, mental illness and substance use issues. Each edition looks in-depth at a different theme and features articles by people living with mental illnesses and/or addictions and their families, mental health and addiction professionals and other concerned citizens. It is written for the mental health and addictions community, by the mental health and addictions community and now it can be delivered straight to your inbox, a week before it hits the press.

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Visions: BC's Mental Health and Addictions Journal is produced by the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information, and funded by BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. The project is coordinated by the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division.


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Visions: BC's Mental Health and Addictions Journal is an award-winning, policy-to-practice magazine of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

The BC Partners is a group of provincial mental health and addictions agencies in BC including the Anxiety Disorders Association of BC, BC Schizophrenia Society, Canadian Mental Health Association's BC Division, Centre for Addiction Research of BC at UVic, FORCE Society for Kids' Mental Health Care, Jessie's Hope Society, and Mood Disorders Association of BC. Our reason for coming together is that we recognize that a number of groups need to have access to accurate, standard and timely information on mental health, mental disorders and addictions, including information on evidence-based services, supports and self-management.


The BC Partners and Visions Journal are funded by BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. More than 15,000 people read the hard copy of the journal and thousands more access it online at Visions is available free to any resident of BC such as people with mental illness or addiction issues, their friends and family, members of the BC Partners member agencies, mental health and addictions services providers (one per address), MLAs, other concerned citizen groups, libraries, academics and policy-makers.






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