Mary Ann Baynton, MSW, RSW
Co-chair, Technical Committee on the National Standard
Why are you a champion of mental health in the workplace?
My work highlighted the difference in terms of suffering for those who were supported to remain a contributing member of the work force and those who were not. In mentally healthy workplaces, people often described work as a refuge from illnesses like depression or anxiety. In unhealthy workplaces, the symptoms were often exacerbated to the point of disability. Having a mentally healthy workplace can reduce the loss of relationships, reputation and jobs. As importantly, mentally healthy workplaces support continued productivity which improves the working lives of managers, union stewards, and co-workers as well as those who may experience times of distress or mental illness.
I am a champion for mental health in the workplace because I want to improve working lives and reduce suffering.
Why do you commit your time and energy to planning the Bottom Line Conference?
This conference dedicates itself to my passion and does so in an, inclusive, respectful and productive way.
Over the past 11 years, what was your favourite Bottom Line moment?
I have had many good moments over the years and enjoyed working with Margaret Tebbutt, Bev Gutray and Peter Coleridge to move this issue forward and both enlighten and engage people. One of my favourite moments was first meeting Margaret Trudeau and hearing her story. She made me laugh, but she also helped us understand the pain that families can go through when the right supports and understanding are not available. First-person accounts have always informed and inspired me at a completely different level than textbooks and journal articles. The Bottom Line Conference provides opportunity to hear these accounts and interact with many like-minded people. I have never walked away from this event without feeling that it was a good use of my time and that I had learned something of value.