Why Privy Council Clerk Janice Charette is making mental health a public service priority

Janice Charette may be one of the first top-ranking bureaucrats in Canada or abroad to put the mental health of public servants at the head of the management agenda. The Clerk of the Privy Council this week released her first report to Prime Minister Stephen Harper since she was appointed last fall, laying out the public service’s accomplishments over the past year and explaining where she hopes to guide it in the coming year. She picked three priorities: recruitment, mental health and policy development.

On mental health, she wants to “focus on building a healthy, respectful and supportive work environment.”

“We have colleagues who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other serious and sometimes debilitating conditions,” Charette told the Citizen.

“We must create the space for open and stigma-free dialogue that allows for honesty and compassion, as well as focus on preventing harm, promoting health and resilience, and addressing incidents or concerns.”

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