Wake up business leaders! It’s time to talk about mental illness

With the coming of 2017, amidst a rising avouchment for female equality and global poverty awareness I find it astonishing that mental illness remains such a taboo subject.

Did you know 600 million people suffer from mental illness worldwide ? And most of them are too ashamed to talk about it, or don’t have any ways of getting help.

It is time we unite to destroy the stigma of speaking out about mental illness.

I’m president of a wonderful association called Revivre that offers supportive aid to people suffering from Depression, Anxiety and Bipolar Disease.

I often get asked why I’m associated with this cause. Like many of you, my career as an entrepreneur in the event industry challenges my mental and emotional limits on a daily basis, and often into extremity. I have lived 15 years with depression and panic attacks caused by mental imbalances that constantly test my strength in new ways. I love what I do, and I’m proud to admit the mental imbalances I suffer from are in part responsible for where I am today professionally, and for shaping who I am as a person. I am grateful to be surrounded by people who have enabled me to learn from my mental instabilities and to leverage them as strengths.

I am committed to making 2017 the beginning of a speak out movement. This needs to be the year that mental illness becomes a mainstream subject, and that those in need of speaking out feel free and supported to do so!

People suffering from mental illness are evermore misunderstood and mistreated, and I simply have no more patience for it.

With the endemic lack of services, too often, help is only there if you represent a danger to yourself or to others, regardless of your suffering. There is no justification for kids pretending to be suicidal just to see a psychiatrist in a Canadian hospital, or for someone suffering from bipolar disease to inflict self harm just to get the attention of a medical professional.

Business professionals! Suffering from depression IS RELEVANT! And no, taking a sick leave is not the most relevant cure. More than 50% of sick leave taken by employees suffering in silence from depression could be reduced if only those people were being offered proper support. On top of being the right thing to do — it’s a major saving.

It’s not just up to the governments to resolve this. The business community needs to join force, and show the path forward. And that starts with you.

On January 25th, Bell Canada held the #BellLetsTalk day in Canada in effort to start a global conversation about mental illness. This is a wonderful initiative but it can’t just be one day per year, this has to mark the beginning of an entire movement.

I need your voice to pitch in and take a stand against the silence that is no more.

Who’s willing to join me ?