Working Life

SkyWorks Charitable Foundation and Laura Sky

2011, 37:00 minutes, colour, English


Working Life is a documentary tool kit that provides an understanding and framework for inclusion, accommodation and support for employees and employers in the workforce who deal with mental health issues. In the documentary we meet four people who have grown up with parents who have experienced mental health difficulties. While their relationships with their parents have led to their own struggles, they have also been a source of strength and skills that have helped them navigate their working lives.

Doug was 15 in the 1950’s when his father experienced a mental health crisis. While his father’s employer maintained economic and personal support for their employee, the family never spoke about the illness and learned to be silent about the issue.

Peter was 6 when his older brother committed suicide. Although his mother battled depression she was still able to work, which gave her purpose and pleasure. Peter has had his own difficulties with depression and burnout.

At a young age, Tallie became a caregiver to her younger siblings as a result of her mother’s difficulties. Now a freelance fashion photographer, she is self-reliant and able to anticipate the needs of others – qualities she learned from her family situation.

After A.J.’s mother was diagnosed with an intellectual disability he was placed in a series of foster homes.  With determination, A.J. and his mother found a way to live and thrive together. Once penalized at his workplace for admitting to his own depression, A.J. is determined to find acceptance for his strengths and abilities.

Working Life DVD includes additional interviews providing different perspectives on mental health issues in the workplace. The speakers include a youth and family counsellor, a director of pensions and benefits at a large corporation, a mental health advocate for a large union, and a counsellor with EAP experience. The CD-ROM contains a Trainer’s Guide on how to use the film, and transcripts for all video material.

This project was developed by SkyWorks Charitable Foundation in partnership with Oolagen, a youth mental health centre in Toronto. Funding for the
Working Life Tool Kit was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities – Ontario Labour Market Partnership Program.

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