CAW Takes on Mental Illness

December 6, 2008, 1:00 PM EST

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Mental illness is a growing issue in workplaces across the country, yet many workers are falling through the tremendous cracks in the system, CAW council delegates heard during a debate on mental illness.

Mental illness is expected by 2020 to become one of the leading causes of death of workers. Currently the economic burden of mental health issues in Canada is $14.4 billion a year, but estimates suggest that it could be as high as $30 billion a year, according to a study sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Numerous delegates took to the microphone to speak about their friends, family members and co-workers who have suffered from mental illness and the difficulty in finding proper treatment and accessing necessary care.

In a resolution that came from the floor, it was recommended that the CAW develop a strategy to understand the scope and the effects of mental illness on members and members' families.  The CAW National Health and Safety Department will also develop and implement a national awareness campaign on mental illness with the goal of removing stigma associated with mental health issues. 

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