At Scotiabank, our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are grassroots initiatives that celebrate diversity and foster equity and inclusion by providing all employees with opportunities to learn, grow, and communicate. We currently operate 15 ERGs with 106 national and global chapters – over 8,500 Scotiabankers participate globally, and nearly 100 educational events are hosted by our various ERGs each year!

Our most important investment is the one we make in our people, and the physical and mental well-being of our employees is at the forefront of everything we do. Our Mental Health and Wellness ERG helps us carry out our commitment to the well-being of our employees by promoting mental health and wellness as part of the corporate culture at Scotiabank. We had the opportunity to chat with Lisa, Lisa-Marie, and Cristina - three members of the Mental Health and Wellness ERG executive team – to learn more about the ERG and their mission to challenge and eradicate stigma of mental health in the workplace.

  • Lisa, ERG Chair
  • Lisa-Marie, ERG Vice-Chair
  • Cristina, ERG Vice-Chair

Meaghan: Hi team! Thank you so much for chatting with me about the Mental Health and Wellness ERG here at Scotiabank. Can you tell me a little bit about why the ERG was created and why you decided to be involved?

Lisa: The Mental Health and Wellness ERG was created to foster a community that offers support and advocacy for employees who are directly or indirectly touched by mental health issues. We aim to destigmatize mental health across the Bank through increasing awareness and understanding. We have all personally dealt with or been affected by mental health and wanted to use the ERG as an opportunity to share our stories, create awareness, and help eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

Meaghan: Why is this particular ERG important to Scotiabank? Why is it important to you?

Lisa-Marie: During the global pandemic, mental health and wellness has been an important topic that has affected all of us in different ways. Scotiabank has many resources for mental health and wellness, and the Mental Health and Wellness ERG aims to bring visibility to these support resources for employees. Despite being connected as Scotiabankers, many people are afraid to talk about their mental health challenges because of the stigma attached to it. It is important for us to create a safe community to talk about these challenges, reduce the stigma, and ensure our peers know that they are not alone.  

Cristina: Through the ERG, we create an inclusive environment to continue conversations around mental health outside of planned events or formal discussions on the topic. It is important to share our stories in hopes that others find strength in our shared experiences. There are learned behaviours surrounding mental health such as suffering in silence and pretending “everything is okay” – the Mental Health and Wellness ERG breaks down these barriers and provides a platform for Scotiabankers to talk about their mental health challenges.

Meaghan: What are some of the key initiatives that the ERG has been involved in thus far?

Lisa: Throughout the year, we run three major campaigns surrounding Bell Let’s Talk Day (January), Mental Health Awareness Week (May) and World Mental Health Day (October). We’re always looking for additional events and opportunities to increase awareness around mental health and wellness! Our ERG also championed Bank-wide mental health workshops launched for employees to learn how to handle and face mental health challenges in the workplace.

Meaghan: What are you most proud of that Scotiabank has done, or that you have accomplished with Scotiabank, to support this ERG?

Lisa-Marie: We are proud that Scotiabank expanded its mental health coverage from $3,000 to $10,000 per year for all benefits-eligible Canadian employees and their dependents. This includes services like clinical counselors, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy, psychologists and more. As an ERG, we’re extremely proud of the inclusive community we’ve built where Scotiabankers can lean on each other in times of need. Through our internal social media site Workplace, we have created a group where Scotiabankers can join the conversation, keep up to date on events throughout the year, and learn about the various resources available to them to support their mental health.

Check out Scotiabank’s full list of Employee Resource Groups to learn how we are fostering inclusion and growing an environment to thrive, for every future.