February 12, 2015 – Vancity Trillium Room, 369 Terminal Avenue, Vancouver

A diverse group of employers, individuals with disabilities and service providers gathered on February 12, 2015 to discuss the topic of Workplace Mental Health, the 6th event in the AIM Candidly Speaking series. The event was hosted by Vancity Credit Union, a business partner and ambassador of the AIM program.

Ric DeVilla of the CMHA started off the conversation with stories from his work as a Job Developer and Mental Health Specialist with the Canadian Mental Health Association. He did a great job of demystifying mental illness and its surrounding stigma.
Eric Bulmash, Manager of Leadership & Learning Innovation at Vancity then spoke of the great work that the organization is doing in creating a culture of inclusion and understanding around mental health in the workplace, with the help of AIM. He highlighted that accommodation for staff with mental health challenges is not only possible but also imperative in creating awareness amongst all staff at Vancity.

Kristin Bower, Innovation and Impact Consultant with Vancity then spoke of her own journey as a person with mental illness in the context of her successful career. She did not pull any punches as she spoke of the tough conversations and situations she had encountered. Ultimately, Vancity has been an excellent employer and Kristin is a valuable member of the People Solutions team.

The event was concluded with an interactive session led by Mark Gruenheid of AIM. Attendees were divided into small groups and three scenarios were presented: one involving a candidate who discloses a mental health diagnosis in an interview, the second presenting the case of a current employee who is behaving differently, and the third regarding an employee who is returning to work after being off for mental health reasons. The ensuing discussion uncovered many excellent ideas and the group were left with very positive ideas on an often misunderstood topic.