Michelle Cassidy is a healthy workplace coordinator for mental health who works on the health, safety and wellness team at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). With her background as a mental health clinician, she joined HHS this summer to develop and implement an employee mental health strategy.
What do you do?
I’m currently working on a strategy to increase awareness about mental health in the workplace. My focus is to develop a mentally healthy environment and encourage staff to seek help when they need it.
This fall, we implemented The Working Mind program as the foundation of our strategy. It is designed to open up a conversation about mental health, develop a common language when considering mental health, and explore ways we can proactively promote mental health while reducing the stigma of mental illness.
Our facilitator team is passionate about creating an environment where people can feel safe to talk openly.
What do you love most about your job?
I feel fortunate to contribute to creating safe spaces for open discussion about mental health. Many people come to The Working Mind training sessions feeling uncertain. I love seeing people’s comfort increase during the course.
Our facilitator team is passionate about creating an environment where people can feel safe to talk openly. Staff courageously share their experiences, which inform how our organization moves forward on this matter.
Workplace mental health is a growth area for many companies and I am excited to be part of HHS’s commitment to pursuing a mentally healthy workplace.
What keeps you motivated at work?
As a new employee, finding colleagues who share the same passion for mental health motivates me the most. Many people at HHS strive to increase our collective understanding of mental health.
The impact of these colleagues and their commitment to grow the mental health supports we offer our employees is exciting. It feels like there is a team of informal allies who, despite different roles, work towards a shared vision. I picture a snowball rolling down a hill that keeps increasing in size and momentum.
While mental health is a serious subject and deserves to be treated respectfully, it is important to model self-care.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?
Perhaps that I laugh every day. While mental health is a serious subject and deserves to be treated respectfully, it is important to model self-care and practices that promote mental health.
This means a commitment to choosing experiences that bring me joy. Though the mental health field is filled with tough work and distressing situations, creating space for laughter is important.
One of my dear colleagues used to say: “We take the topic of mental health very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” I wholeheartedly agree. Our staff involved in The Working Mind sessions can certainly attest to that thought.
Describe how you use social media in your work.
I use social media as a stigma reduction tool. It’s a way to recognize the amazing efforts of our staff and their contributions to creating a mentally healthy workplace. Follow me on Twitter @Cassidymi1.