Jean-François CLAUDE, M.S.M.
Co-Chair (Employer), Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace and
Co-Founder, Federal Speakers’ Bureau on Healthy Workplaces
Co-Founder, The Men’s D.epression E.ducation N.etwork (The Men’s DEN)
Public Servant. Stigma Fighter. Difference Maker.
A 20-year veteran of Canada’s federal public service, Jean-François Claude has spent a significant portion of his government career in senior liaison and advisory roles in support of Ministers’ Offices and high-ranking departmental officials, as well as in supervisory and management positions. Health Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada and Natural Resources Canada are but three departments in which he has served in primarily Communications and Public Affairs positions over the years.
When Jean-François first joined the Federal Public Service in 1998, he knew next to nothing about mental health… and even less about mental illness. A sudden and unexpected work stoppage in 2012 would change all that. And reveal a secret family history of mental health struggles.
Jean-François has since turned personal adversity into public advocacy for mental health, launching the website TheMensDEN.ca (The Men’s Depression Education Network) in 2013. He then orchestrated the City of Ottawa’s first Proclamation of a “Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Ottawa” in 2014, now held annually on the Tuesday immediately preceding Father’s Day. The first municipal proclamation of its kind in Canada, this awareness day is now recognized and celebrated nationally.
A firm believer in the power of storytelling to bring about culture change, Jean-François regularly shares his lived experience of mental health recovery as a bilingual keynote speaker and panelist. He is also the Co-Founder of the Federal Speakers’ Bureau on Healthy Workplaces (internal Government of Canada link), a virtual team of federal public servants who openly share their experiences with mental health struggles and recovery, to help address the stigma of mental illness in the workplace.
Jean-François was appointed Co-Chair (Employer) of the of the Public Service of Canada’s Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace. He is certified in Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University, as well as in Mental Health First Aid.
In 2017, for his advocacy work and anti-stigma efforts in the area of men’s mental health, Jean-François was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) by His Excellency the Governor General of Canada, and named one of 150 Leading Canadian Difference Makers for Mental Health by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In 2016, he was presented with an Inspiration Award from The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, and was ranked #5 in the Top 100 Mental Health Influencers on Twitter, where you can follow him as @JFClaude_GC.