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Would you talk about your mental health issues?

Published in the Hamilton Spectator

If you suffered from a mental illness that occasionally affected your job performance, would you feel comfortable telling your boss or your co-workers about it? What if it was a physical ailment such as asthma or diabetes?

Chances are, you might feel more comfortable divulging a physical issue than a mental one because of the stigma and the lack of understanding that surrounds mental illness. The stigma is sad but also surprising, given that one in five adults will suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their lives.

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That has to change, and not just for altruistic reasons. Earlier this year, CivicAction released a report that found that half the workforce in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area — more than 1.5 million people — have experienced a mental health issue. And those issues are expected to cost almost $17 billion in lost productivity over the next 10 years unless companies can help address them.

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