Reaching Out to Future Health Leaders

On Thursday, January 28, students from the University of Ottawa’s Masters of Health Administration program were treated to a frank and open discussion in a “bear pit session” with MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley.

“We purposefully keep these events very intimate,” explains Brain Malcolmson, the program’s Executive-in-Residence. “We want to give our students a rare opportunity to get the full attention of senior leaders.”

Accompanied by Michael Pietrus, MHCC’s Director, Opening Minds and Mental Health First Aid, Bradley made a compelling and impassioned plea for students to use their future influence to transform Canada’s system.

“I challenge you to face the self-stigma that threatens not only the quality of patient care, but also your own well-being,” said Bradley. Bradley called out self-stigma as a real concern in the “caring professions.” She explained that many people who are trained to help others are reluctant to admit when they need help.

The statistics around the wellness of healthcare providers paint an alarming picture. For example, stress, anxiety, depression, burnout and substance misuse are common work-related conditions reported by health workers in Canada.

Bradley spoke about her time as a nurse, hospital administrator and driver of workplace wellness, while Pietrus outlined the empirical data and cutting-edge research the MHCC is leading on anti-stigma initiatives.

Students were fully engaged in the conversation and asked challenging and insightful questions, ranging from how health administrators can promote and sustain healthy workplaces to how they can successfully increase investments in mental health programs.

“The students really appreciated the candid and informal approach,” said Malcolmson. “They were so engaged they want to keep the conversation going in an upcoming Mental Health First Aid session.”

Learn more about the Mental Health First Aid program.