Matt Phinney, 38, had already experienced mental illness when his employer, Capital One, launched the Not Myself Today initiative in 2017. Implemented in over 450 organizations so far, it’s a unique, evidence-based workplace mental health initiative that builds understanding of mental health, reduces stigma and fosters safe and supportive work cultures. It’s this safe and supportive culture that compelled Matt to speak out at a Not Myself Today event about his own experience for the first time.  With the guidance of National Account Manager Louise Stacey, Matt’s employer has made Not Myself Today part of its employee equity plan, which has led to mandatory manager training in mental health, regular mental health education events and spawned a committee of employees with lived experience.

In addition to feeling more supported and open about his mental health at work, Matt has seen how this settings-based approach focused on open dialogued, education and mental wellness has transformed the culture for all of his co-workers. “When we walk into work each day, we carry with us every aspect of who we are. There is no ‘baggage check’ that allows us to be superhuman. I’m humbled that my sharing has played a role in helping others feel more included and empowered,” says Matt.

Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.