Left: From left, Ron Campbell, Wade Sorochan, Darla Yonkman, and Dr. Don Melnychuk at the Work-Stress-Life “Striking A Balance” Conference in Vermilion on January 24.
Right: Toronto speaker, Blake Fly at the Vermilion Regional Centre on January 24.
Approximately 200 people gathered at the Vermilion Regional Centre on January 24, for the Work-Stress-Life “Striking A Balance” Conference.
During the conference, a Wellness Fair was held with many area organizations providing information on services available.
Four speakers included Ron Campbell, Dr. Don Melnychuk, Wade Sorochan, and Blake Fly.
Ron Campbell shared his experience as a 34 year RCMP member diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. He challenged the audience by asking, ‘How is the work-life balance working for you?’
“Self-care is so important to daily healthy life, don’t try to do it all; delegate. Find or give follow up support and peer support. Talking it out is the most helpful way to help people process stress,” said Campbell.
Campbell stated a cultural change needs to occur regarding mental health issues. He went on to say that Alberta has the highest per capita number of therapists and amount of mental health issues in the nation.
Speaker and 21-year psychologist, Dr. Don Melnychuk focused on fatigue and how it impacts people.
“I never realized sleep was so crucial,” said Melnychuk who also mentioned that nutrition and exercise are proactive ways to maintain wellness. He noted the dangers of fatigue in the workplace; and that according to an Australian study, a person’s reaction time after having been awake for 17 hours can be just as impaired as a person with a 0.05 per cent blood alcohol level.
“When we say fit for duty, we have to put in there, alcohol-free, drug-free, fatigue-free,” said Melnychuk.
Mental Health Advocate and speaker, Wade Sorochan, said, “We need to talk about mental health like any other illness, because like any other illness if it goes untreated, it can be fatal.”
He encouraged people to seek true information and break the stigma. According to Sorchan, 60 per cent of people suffering will not seek help due to the stigma associated with mental health issues.
“A mental health issue is not a weakness, it’s not your fault, you’re not alone (30 percent of the population is suffering), it is treatable, and there is hope,” said Sorochan.
Blake Fly spoke both at the conference and at a session for Lakeland College students later that evening. Incorporating instruments throughout his speech, Fly aimed to bring people closer together. Fly stated that, by engaging people with a glance or simple, ‘Hello,’ you can bring them out of isolation. He encouraged participants to simply appreciate their most important relationships by sending a text or email during the conference that said, ‘Hey, I just wanted to say thanks.’
“If you keep practicing these creative and unexpected encounters, you could rekindle, maintain, and spark new relationships on top of the already amazing connections you have in your community,” said Fly.
Overall, participants enjoyed the conference and the information they received.
“We would like to thank Lakeland College, the Government of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, the County of Vermilion River, and the Town of Vermilion for making the conference available at a low cost. I’m excited about making progress with mental health help; we can all be a part of the solution,” said Yonkman.