Fighting the good fight against mental health stigma

Stigma fighters

The CIUSSS Staff Stigma Fighters have brought a dedicated mental health program for all CIUSSS employees one step closer to reality, thanks to their participation in invigorating fitness sessions in the fourth annual Mindstrong fundraising event.

Nineteen CIUSSS staff members from throughout the network teamed up this summer, raising $12,175 with the help of family, friends and colleagues who organized fundraising activities in parallel to the main event.

“We want to do more for employees who are experiencing a mental health crisis,” says Staff Stigma Fighters team member Isabelle Bisaillon. “We also want to focus on prevention, through initiatives that tackle stigma in the workplace,” adds Ms. Bisallon, who is a Planning, Programming and Research Officer in the Mental Health and Addiction Program Directorate.

“We need to take action for our staff,” agrees team captain Beverly Kravitz, Director of Human Resources, Communications, Legal Affairs and Global Security. “Having worked at the JGH Foundation in the past, I know about fundraising. I thought that the Mindstrong event would be a fun and meaningful way to raise the funds, help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and do something meaningful for our valued employees, who dedicate their lives to helping others.”

Director of Finance Carrie Bogante participated in the event, and urged other senior employees to lead the way in initiatives that promote the mental health and wellness of their team members. “We are all in it together,” she says. “Next year I’ll be taking part in Mindstrong again, and I plan to get more people involved.”

According to Ms. Bisallon, the stigmatization of people living with mental health problems is a common and persistent problem—even within a healthcare setting. “So long as there is a stigma surrounding mental health, many people are reluctant to seek treatment,” she explains. “One of the most effective ways to get rid of the stigma is through normalization. Whether with events such as Mindstrong, or in one-on-one conversations, we can help sensitize people to the idea that mental illness is not a fault or a weakness, but rather an illness.”

Learn more about the Staff Stigma Fighters May 2019 Mindstrong event.