Jordan Madarash, Member of Teamsters Local Union 362, has experienced tragedy in the workplace. Four of his fellow employees were shot by a coworker on June 15, 2012 while performing their duties. Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic and Michelle Shegelski, employees of G4S, lost their lives that day. Matthew Schuman was critically injured and faced a long road of rehabilitation ahead. As Jordan and the Teamsters searched for answers and a way to prevent an incident like this from ever happening again, they began to realize that the ripple effects of this tragedy reached far and wide. The underlying issue? Mental health and the stigma that is attached to the issue. How can we change this? How do we make mental health support mandatory in the workplace?
#Makeitmandatory is an online campaign spearheaded by Teamsters Local Union 362. The idea behind it is that if we band together and spread awareness about mental health, then those who need it will seek help when they are in need.
Together, we can make a change. People mustn’t be afraid to ask for help in fear that they will be made fun of, dismissed or face prejudice. When Jordan got married a different feeling came across when he went to work; as his children came along, he realized how much all children need both mom and dad to come home healthy from work.
Tragedy is difficult for the people left behind. What happens when a Member of our union finds themselves falling into a hole? Whether it is an issue like depression, anxiety or just circumstantial hard times, we have to ask: what if there is help? Jordan wonders if this incident might have been prevented.
Ultimately, something positive can come out of it. We need mental health awareness on all job sites, union or not. Help us #makeitmandatory in all workplaces to assist the one in five Canadians struggling with mental health issues – with enough awareness out there, people wouldn’t feel bad or embarrassed about asking for help.
Visit our website and message as many policy makers and cultural influencers as you can. Help us take real action to #makeitmandatory.