No one is ever prepared for tragedy. Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic and Michelle Shegelski, employees of G4S, were not expecting that they wouldn’t return from work on the fated evening of June 15, 2012. Matthew Schuman was not preparing to be rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. None of their families were predicting what it would be like to cope with the fallout of their loved ones being shot and killed at work. And none of their colleagues knew what it would be like to go to work in the following days, weeks and months, knowing that it had been one of their coworkers that had taken the lives of these people.
It is for these reasons that Teamsters Local Union 362 wants to make mental health mandatory in every workplace. We want mental health support and education in the workplace so that the stigma and prejudice associated with all forms of mental illness can one day be lifted. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that stem from an event such as the tragedy at G4S, deeply cuts into the well-being of a person and the ripple effect can be catastrophic in the decay of a healthy and happy work team.
Not everyone with mental health issues is violent, but there is enough stigma and fear around these issues for us to recognize the fact that we need to do something to make a change. This is why we want to demand that we make mental health in the workplace mandatory – and we urge that you help us to make it happen by participating in the #makeitmandatory campaign. By speaking up together, we can call on cultural influencers, public figures and policy makers to help us affect positive change throughout workplaces; by pressuring the government and companies to create a safe work place, we can help ensure that people can come home safely and healthy at the end of the day.
How can you help? We have set our website up so that it’s easy for you to engage in spreading the word about this important initiative. Click on a public figure or policy maker to request their help in spreading awareness or demanding new policies. Tell us your personal story – we want to hear it. If we all band together, we will be heard. Nobody should have to take on this battle alone: let’s #makeitmandatory together.