Aird & Berlis LLP recognizes the importance of mental health in the workplace. As such, it is proud to announce the implementation of its first ever Mental Health Week, taking place May 15 - 19.
One of the first initiatives the firm plans to participate in is the Not Myself Today campaign. This initiative, led by Partners for Mental Health, engages workplaces across Canada to foster a safe and supportive work environment for those who face mental health challenges, including caretakers who support individuals struggling with mental illness.
The workplace can play a significant role in a person’s life and influences overall health and wellness. Many Canadians are affected by mental health issues or mental illness either personally or through a friend or family member. Despite 1 in 5 Canadians having a mental illness this year, stigma remains a huge barrier to people getting the help they need.
“Our goal is to ensure a mentally-healthy work environment and to help all employees perform at their best,” said Steven Zakem, Managing Partner of Aird & Berlis LLP. “We want to promote mental well-being and foster a culture of acceptance and support for those who may be facing mental health challenges.”
During Mental Health Week, lawyers and staff will participate in daily activities related to mental health. The kick-off event on Tuesday, May 16, features a powerful presentation by Michael Landsberg, a Canadian sports journalist and mental health activist. According to Michael, “The stigma surrounding mental illness has been talked about so much that I believe it is now taken for granted. I started SickNotWeak to show people that mental illness is a sickness, not a weakness. By supporting SickNotWeak, Aird & Berlis LLP is showing everyone who works there that they want to create a workplace where mental health can be discussed in an open and honest way and, because of that, they will change some lives forever.”
Other activities include a viewing of the movie Inside Out, a mindfulness & meditation session led by Morgan Cowie of the Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre and a restorative yoga karma class. In this class, participants are asked to make a donation to Women’s College Hospital’s Mental Health Program. “Our Women’s Mental Health Program is the largest research and clinical program of its kind in Canada, with a specialized focus in reproductive life stages, trauma and mental health challenges related to medical conditions,” says Dr. Valerie Taylor, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Women’s College Hospital. “The wonderful support of Aird & Berlis LLP will help Women’s College Hospital change more lives by continuing to grow as a global leader in the crucial area of women’s mental health.”
Corrine Kennedy, Aird & Berlis LLP’s Diversity and Inclusion Partner, helped drive this mental health initiative forward in the firm. She acts as a resource and advocate for firm lawyers and staff in respect of diversity and inclusivity issues. According to Corrine, “we all have a role to play in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, supporting others dealing with mental health challenges and creating a psychologically-healthy workplace.” Given the importance of this initiative, the firm will be rolling out a larger mental health strategy throughout the year to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to building a better and healthier workplace.