Why workplace mental health promotion?

Approximately 500,000 Canadians miss work every week as a result of a mental health problem (CAMH: Statistics on Mental Health and Addictions, 2012). In 2011, mental health issues affected approximately 21.5% of Canadian workers (20-64 years) at an estimated cost of $6.4 billion. This number is expected to rise sharply to $16 billion by 2041 (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2013).

Promoting mental health in the workplace including prevention and early action to deal with stress and identify sources of psychological hazards, can contribute to a healthier work environment (Ibid, 2013). There are many potential benefits of workplace health promotion including:

  • Improved productivity
  • Improved employee engagement and retention
  • Increased morale and job satisfaction
  • Reduced grievances
  • Decrease in short and long term disability claims

What is mental health promotion?

A series of activities, initiatives and policies developed to promote the continuous enhancement of the quality of working life, health and well being of workplace members. The aim is to improve the work environment, to increase personal empowerment and personal growth.

Where can workplaces start?

Workplace mental health promotion strategies help organizations achieve their potential by promoting employee health and ultimately improving their bottom line. A few strategies include:

  • Having clearly defined job descriptions and scope of responsibilities
  • Maintaining a culture of civility and respect
  • Matching workloads to capabilities and resources
  • Recognizing employees for their contributions
  • Implementing psychological support and safety

Canadian Mental Health Association Video on understanding the importance of addressing workplace mental health and its effect on families, friends, and communities