Message from the Clerk to all public servants for annual Mental Health Week

Today marks the beginning of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week, when the Public Service of Canada joins communities, schools and workplaces across the country to #GetLoud about what mental health is really about.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the brave work of a growing number of public servants who are taking the initiative to open up conversations on mental health. Some are sharing their own journeys, and others are creating platforms for dialogue.

Over the past year, I have met with federal public servants from various organizations and backgrounds for frank and honest conversations about mental health issues being faced in the workplace. My Contact Group on Mental Health has also met three times to continue our mission to create and support a healthy workplace.

Since the launch of the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy in 2016, departments, in collaboration with their mental health and wellness champions, have been strengthening their organizational support systems and promoting culture change. The Joint Task Force on Mental Health, which counts public servants and union representatives as its members, has provided a roadmap to departments to help them as they move beyond consultations to implementing mental health strategies. We also introduced new mental health and well-being survey questions in the 2017 annual Public Service Employee Survey.

Support for wellness needs to come from all levels. To date, more than 90 deputy ministers and heads of agencies have signed the pledge to support mental health. Managers and employees now have access to a range of tools, supports and training through the newly launched Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace.  If you are dealing with a mental health issue, know that there is support available to you from your employer, your colleagues and your community.

As I wrote earlier this month in my Annual Report, the mental health and well-being of our workforce remains a top priority for the Public Service of Canada and for me personally.

Mental Health Week is all about talking openly and honestly about mental health. I encourage you to have frank conversations with your colleagues, family and friends about what you can do to promote safe and respectful workplaces and support healthy communities. #GetLoud and let everyone know you care about and understand the importance of mental health.


Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

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