Healthy workforce, healthy society: Introducing Not Myself Today

Not Myself Today is an annual workplace mental health initiative that equips senior leaders, human resources, managers and employees with activities, tools and resources focused on increasing awareness and knowledge of mental health, reducing stigma, and fostering safe, open and supportive workplace environments.

Not Myself Today is based on a shared insight – the feeling of not being one’s self and that everyone can relate to – that connects people to the topic of mental health and helps build empathy for those who may be facing challenges.

The Initiative

Not Myself Today was introduced to workplaces in Canada in 2013 to encourage employers and employees to transform mental health at work, and will now be piloted, and if successful, rolled out across Europe. Through this initiative, European companies and organizations will receive comprehensive resources and tools to organize events and activities that engage employees and aims to reduce stigma and create cultures of acceptance and support for mental health and for those who are facing mental illness.

The Opportunity

Mental health is everyone’s business. We’re all affected by it. In the workplace, the cost of doing nothing is staggering, both personally and economically.

Stigma accounts for a big part of the problem. The misunderstanding that surrounds mental health problems or illness contributes to preconceived notions, misperceptions and fears. Employees facing mental health challenges often choose to suffer in silence and/or avoid getting help rather than face the stigma and discrimination. Consider the following European Union statistics:

  • Depression in the workplace is a leading cause of lost work productivity, sick leave and early retirement; some key findings indicate that one in ten working people have taken time off work because of depression, and around 350 million working days are lost in the EU each year due to stress and depression;
  • Mental disorders are highly prevalent in Europe and impose a major burden on individuals, society and the economy. They represent 22% of the EU’s total burden of disability;
  • The overall financial costs of mental disorders, including direct, as well as indirect, medical costs through care and lost productivity, amount to more than €450 billion per year in the EU.

Strong opportunity exists to reach deeper into this “silent majority” and broaden the reach of mental health education. Tackling stigma that exists around mental health and mental illness is a critical step in creating mentally healthy and safe working environments and communities.

It is vital to have the voices of leading companies and organizations, policymakers and community leaders to help spread awareness of a campaign that helps employees and employers better understand mental health, reduce stigma and foster a safe, open and supportive workplace environment.

Through your support and your pledge to the initiative, you invest in the health and well-being of your employees, reduce the economic burdens of lost work productivity, and join the European Brain Council in its commitment to working together to advance the creation of more mentally healthy workplaces, and transform and improve mental health supports, services, policies and systems.

Discover the campaign details through the documents below:

Not Myself Today - Detailed Introduction

Project Presentation

Toolkit Details

2016 Not Myself Today - Canada Partners

For further information on partnership opportunities and using Not Myself Today at your workplace, please contact Stephanie Kramer