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Mental health issues come with personal and economic costs

Employers can support employee well-being, writes Sevaun Palvetzian.

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By Sevaun Palvetzian

On the other side of the world, a short 22-hour plane ride away, it’s already tomorrow in Australia. But Australia is also miles ahead when it comes to talking about mental health.

I saw this firsthand last month when I brought the CivicAction story to a conference of philanthropists in the nation’s capital. On the way to the gate for my flight home, I spotted a poster offering “tips and tricks to raise resilient young people.” You can find checklists, stress tests and more at

My poster sighting was a good reminder that in Canada, mental health is top of mind this October with Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6-12) and World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10).

Whether it’s Australia or our own backyard, mental health issues affect many of us and come at a big personal and economic cost. Did you know: 1 in 2 people in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area have experienced a mental health issue; 82 per cent of employees who report mental health issues say it impacts their work; and over the next 10 years, current mental health issues in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area labour force alone could result in almost $17 billion in lost productivity?

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