User Login

Champions 2021 – Sharon Bak

Champions 2021 – Sharon Bak

Emergency Management Field Officer

Emergency Management Ontario

View more Profiles

As an Emergency Management Field Officer, Sharon Bak knows what it takes to make order out of chaos. PSPs in the emergency management sector are often forgotten until an emergency occurs. Then they rush into action facing stress and trauma both similar to, and different from, their counterparts in other sectors. The unique job of emergency managers is hard to understand for those outside the field, which is why having a peer support team is so important. Creating a peer support team for Emergency Management Ontario is just one of the reasons Chris Pittens nominated Sharon as a Champion of Mental Health.

As a person living with mental illness, Sharon has been vocal about mental health and wellness in her organization. This willingness to be vocal, combined with a lifelong drive to help people, has made Sharon the perfect advocate for improved mental health and wellness. In Sharon’s words, “Silence Kills. If I can use my voice and tell my story, it shows it is okay to be open.”

Sharon believes that the idea of stoic heroes is still very prevalent in the PSP community. Still, she is working hard to show that mental illness doesn’t define who you are, and it doesn’t set limitations on what you can do in your life. In fact, Sharon thinks she is better at her job because of her own struggles. They allow her to have empathy for those she is supporting through an emergency.

Sharon brings that same dedication to her workplace. As her nominator noted, Sharon established a Mental Health Working Group (MHWG) in her organization to help provide supports beyond those offered through their EFAP program. Sharon knows it is all a part of building mental health and wellness into her workplace culture, a move she thinks is essential for all organizations. For organizations to support mental health, Sharon believes there needs to be more money for support and education, and more buy-in from leadership to change the culture. When it comes to tools, Sharon knows it can’t be a one size fits all solution. This is why education on mental health and wellness, both personally and professionally, is so important.

Though Sharon doesn’t see herself as a hero, her nominator Chris does,

“A hero is someone who does not necessarily wear a cape but works tirelessly every day to share their stories, helps those who are struggling, takes risks, shows vulnerability by telling their truth, and stands up for others who have not yet found their voice. We can think of no better “hero” and Champion of Mental Health than Sharon Bak.”

 

After receiving her award Sharon was interviewed by CBC: Superior Morning with Sean Vanderklis. Listen to the interview here

User Login

Lost Password