Given that most people who work spend most of their waking hours at work, understanding the human costs of workplace mental illness is essential. This understanding helps employers develop an action plan for improving both the bottom line and employee well-being.
Best practices support early intervention. The vision for a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that promotes workers’ psychological well-being and allows no harm to worker mental health in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.
The topic of perfectionism was front and centre as Dr. Martin M. Antony presented at Grand Rounds at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) on Thursday, February 13.
Dr. Antony, Director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Lab at Ryerson University, is one of the country’s most prominent researchers in the area of perfectionism, anxiety disorders, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
“James Cameron describes himself as a perfectionist,” noted Dr. Antony during his presentation entitled ‘Nature and Treatment of Perfectionism’. “He may not have a problem with this, but others around him may say different.”
Dr. Antony brought the audience up to speed by presenting contrasting definitions of perfectionism.
While the dictionary defines it as a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable, clinically, perfectionism is defined as the overdependence of self-evaluation on the determined pursuit (and achievement) of self-imposed, personally demanding standards of performance in at least one salient domain, despite the occurrence of adverse consequences.
Dr. Antony added that people who are high in perfectionism remember having parents who set very high standards for them however it seems the more negative experiences such as peer victimization lead to perfectionism.
Perfectionists also have views that stem from biased beliefs, assumptions, and predictions that impact a variety of areas in their lives. Research has shown that a perfectionist’s life can be impacted in several areas, including work, studies, hygiene, and social relationships.
In terms of treatment options, Dr. Antony noted CBT can help perfectionists see things more broadly.
“Changing perfectionistic thinking involves examining the evidence, education, perspective shifting, compromising with self and others, hypothesis testing, changing social habits, looking at the big picture and tolerating uncertainty and ambiguity,” noted Dr. Antony.
As Canadians gear down from the emotional high of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, one of the nation’s most celebrated Olympians will be ramping up her own amazing journey sure to capture the national spotlight.
Clara Hughes celebrity attained from her Olympic medal performances at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games has been equaled or perhaps overtaken by lending her voice to the mental health movement. Hughes is a fixture of Bell Let’s Talk Day which raised $5.5 million this year alone. It is a welcome influx of funds to improve services for those with mental illness, but what is harder to monetize but no less valuable, is what Hughes has done to bring mental health into the spotlight. She speaks for those who are suffering in silence, too ashamed or frightened to ask for help. As one of the one-in-five Canadians with a mental illness, her story is our story.