How do we recognize the signs of mental illness, within ourselves or in our peers? And how can we support our colleagues, friends or loved ones if they’re struggling?
On Episode 26 of REAL TIME, Dr. Raj Bhatla and Ron Antalek share their insights in a special episode for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Mental Health Week 2022. In a demanding profession like real estate, taking the time to talk about mental health is essential to fostering a vibrant, thriving industry both today and tomorrow.
Dr. Bhatla is Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Chief of Staff of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard University and his medical degree at McGill University. He joined The Royal, one of Canada’s foremost mental health care, teaching, and research hospitals, in 1992.
Antalek is a second-generation REALTOR® with more than 30 years’ experience. He’s also a philanthropist, committed volunteer, and mental health advocate in his community of Maple Ridge, British Columbia. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Canadian REALTORS Care® Award.
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In alignment with the CMHA’s theme of empathy, we explored various topics surrounding mental health, including awareness, de-stigmatization, and how to support one another through compassion and understanding.
Discussions around mental health have become more common in recent years, and as Antalek mentioned, this conversation most likely wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago.
While the stigma surrounding mental health has evolved, Dr. Bhatla discusses some of the most common challenges he sees today. He also talks about the mental health issues he sees in the workplace and which professions are more vulnerable than others.
As a REALTOR®, Antalek is familiar with the pressures of working in real estate, such as unpredictable hours and dealing with the expectations of clients. He shared how he finds a healthy work-life balance in such a competitive, emotionally driven industry.
In turn, Dr. Bhatla provided some basic tips for managing work-related stress, anxiety, and to help avoid burnout. For example, he spoke to us about the impact of social media; how easy it has become, and how harmful it can be to compare our everyday lives to the curated highlights of our colleagues and peers – especially in an industry that can feel very competitive at times. He also emphasized how important it is to pay attention to our sleep habits, as the side effects of sleep deprivation can compound on challenges presented by pre-existing mental health conditions. Plus, the pair discussed how to recognize signs in others and how you can support your peers who may be experiencing mental health challenges.
Antalek also shared a few ways REALTORS® can support mental health initiatives in their own communities and Dr. Bhatla explained how such volunteering can have benefits to one’s own mental health.