Every year, during the first week of May, Mental Health Week is hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association as a time to celebrate, protect and promote mental health across Canadian communities.
This year’s theme, #GetReal, is a call for us to embrace our emotions – even the difficult ones, as we continue to grapple with the realities of a pandemic.
According to a 2020 survey on mental health symptoms during COVID-19,
- 1 in 5 Canadians are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder
- 68% who reported a mental health issue reported that their mental health has worsened since the pandemic
- 30% of disability claims are related to mental health illness
HR professionals have an important role to play in safeguarding employees and addressing mental health concerns.
In fact, creating a psychologically safe and supportive workplace is not just the right thing to do, it’s a legal, business and health imperative.
Just from a business standpoint, lost productivity due to mental health illness cost Canadian businesses an estimated $6 billion annually. And that was before the pandemic. With the recent surge in anxiety and depression, that cost for businesses is expected to rise.
On the other hand, organizations that champion employee well-being are far more engaged, motivated and productive. They tend to experience higher retention rates, reduced absenteeism, employee burnout and workplace injuries.
While there’s no right way to build a psychologically safe work environment, mental health impacts for employees should be considered in the HR strategy to ensure everyone feels supported.
Currently, only 23% of Canadians feel comfortable approaching their employer with mental health concerns so we know that there’s still room to do better. Check out some of the resources below for more information on mental health support in the workplace.
- Halton: ABM & Mental Health in the Workplace
- Peel: Wellness and Employee Engagement: What Matters Now
- Peterborough: How Stigma Can Ruin Your Company
- Thousand Islands: Stress Management: A Survival Guide
- Toronto 05.11.21 VIRTUAL Annual Business Meeting l Mental Health Enticing A Better Culture At Work
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Infographic
- CCOHS – Free Mental Health Awareness Course
- COVID-19: Why burnout is on the rise
- Government of Canada: Mental Health in the Workplace
- Government of Ontario- Mental health, wellness and addictions support
- Government of Ontario- Mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic
- HRPA Insights Centre: Occupational Health & Safety
- Mental Health Commission of Canada- Workplace Resources
- Mental Health Commission of Canada- Self-Care & Resilience Guide
- Mental Health in the Canadian Workplace Infographic
- Mental Health Resources
- Norton Rose Fulbright – Addressing employee mental health during challenging times
- RiskAnalytica for the Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Statistics Canada: Survey on COVID-19 Mental Health
- The Evolution of Workplace Mental Health in Canada