Almost all of those employees have lived experience with mental health issues. And they have all been given training, said Anderson, that both encourages them to draw on their histories as a resource, and respects the challenges lived experience can present in the workplace.
“It isn’t just about inviting people’s lived experience in,” said Anderson, whose own family’s struggles with mental health spurred the creation of a series of mental health non-profits over the last two decades.
“You build a house for them … Our people have an infrastructure that is there for them and gives them the training and support and development and supervision that enables them to walk with their lived experience and do the hard work and not have it impact them negatively.”
Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability in the country, affecting nearly seven million working-age Canadians according to a February, 2018, report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. By age 40, one in two Canadians has lived or is currently living with a mental health problem or illness.