Town hall, open forum for mental health discussion

LCdr Judith Harlock from Joint Personnel Support Unit addresses the audience during the town hall. Background from left: Jody Thomas, Senior Associate Deputy Minister and DND Mental Health Co-Champion, Jerry Ryan, Federal Government Dockyard and Trades and Labour Council (East), and Commodore Marta Mulkins, Commander Navy Reserves. Photo by Peter Mallet, Lookout

LCdr Judith Harlock from Joint Personnel Support Unit addresses the audience during the town hall. Background from left: Jody Thomas, Senior Associate Deputy Minister and DND Mental Health Co-Champion, Jerry Ryan, Federal Government Dockyard and Trades and Labour Council (East), and Commodore Marta Mulkins, Commander Navy Reserves. Photo by Peter Mallet, Lookout

Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) hosted a town hall July 7 focussed on building a healthy, respectful, and supportive work environment.

The forum, attended by approximately 350 Defence Team military and civilian members, was led by a five-person panel consisting of senior leadership and health care officials. They discussed the MARPAC Health and Wellness Strategy, and described both successes and challenges of program delivery.

Keynote speaker Jody Thomas, Senior Associate Deputy Minister (SADM) and DND’s Mental Health Co-Champion, emphasized the importance of getting people the help they need, and the critical role all members of the Defence Team have in achieving this, regardless of rank.

She added that communication and openness are critical in improving the delivery of Total Health and Wellness programs and support for the ill, which is a key component in Canada’s new Defence Policy.

“Hopefully, many of us will come away from today’s discussion with an understanding that all of us must take a more robust role in raising the flag when someone in your department or unit is not well,” said Thomas.

After a lively one-hour, open-microphone question and answer session, Thomas and the other panelists put pen to paper in signing a Mental Health Pledge as part of MARPAC’s Health and Wellness Strategy. Other panelists who signed the document were Commodore Marta Mulkins, Commander of Canada’s Navy Reserves; Commander Charles Cross, Canadian Forces Health Services Centre Pacific; Jerry Ryan, the Federal Government Dockyard and Trades and Labour Council (East) President and DND Mental Health Co-Champion; and Tina Wagner-Kulak, Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) Educator.

At the event, Cdr Cross noted the profound impact of mental health on the nation and how 20 per cent of Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime.

“That is why it’s so important to create a dialogue and have that community-wide engagement. Check in with your colleagues at work and see how they are doing and feeling on a regular basis,” he said.

On a positive note, Chief Petty Officer Second Class Mathew Goodwin, Regional Unit Chief for Joint Personnel Support Unit, has seen employees in his office and across the base remove mental health stigmas, and instead assist people in need.

For more information about mental health and support available across the Defence Team visit the Mental Health Services intranet site at http://intranet.mil.ca/en/res/health-services/mental-health/index.page.

For more information and support available at CFB Esquimalt and in the community visit the Military Family Resource Centre’s webpage at http://www.familynavigator.ca/index.php/resources/mental_health_esquimalt_adult

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Brian Stennes says:

    That LCdr doesn’t look like “Jody Thomas addressing the audience,” considering Jody Thomas is seated in the back.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.