Get Real Photovoice: Sparking conversations about mental health in northwestern Ontario
People submitted photos along with a caption or a short story that explained their experience at work
There is no health without mental health.
That's the message officials with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit are hoping to promote through the Get Real Photovoicecampaign and mobile photo exhibit.
The campaign, which launched in June 2017, hopes to spark conversations about mental health at work while promoting various ways employers can adopt to foster a mentally safe and healthy workplace.
That means "people are coming to work and they are either suffering under severe workload issues ... stressed for some reason whether its the culture in the workplace, [or] bullying," Fraser explained.
Unfortunately, Fraser said many employees are "afraid to say something and [they] suffer in silence," in fear of reprisal.
But "in that silence there is no help and there is no change for the better," she continued.
That's why the health unit in Thunder Bay, Ont., in partnership with the Superior Mental Wellness at Work advisory group, started the Get Real Photovoice campaign.
From there, people submitted photographs along with a caption or a short story that explained how that photo represented their experience at work.
"We did see submissions that talked about people who were either harassed by their boss ... but there were also stories that talked about how important it was for their co-workers to understand," Fraser continued.
She said it's important for many employers to be prepared and have the ability to identify common stress factors.
She recommended employers implement factors listed on the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safetyin the Workplace in order to foster a mentally safe and healthy workplace.
"Those factors include making sure there is clear leadership, that workloads are manageable [and] that there is praise and recognition when an employee does a good job ... and making sure there is a positive and respectful workplace," Fraser said.
As part of the campaign, businesses and organizations in Thunder Bay can request to have some of the submitted photos displayed at their workplace.