Pillar 5: Mental Health in the Workplace
Impact on the Canadian Economy and WorkplacesMental health issues affect people personally, but they also have a significant impact on Canadian workplaces and the economy:
- The annual economic cost in Canada is at least $50 billion.
- The annual indirect cost due to lost productivity is around $6 billion.
- The number of workers unable to work due to poor mental health is approximately 500,000 each week.
The most common mental illnesses that Canadians face are mood-related (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, etc.) and anxiety disorders (e.g. generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, etc.).
Common Mental Health Challenges
While employees who experience a mental health challenge may require a disability leave at some point during their illness, many employees are able to effectively function and contribute within the workplace. In fact, it’s likely that you already have employees with mental health challenges on your team.
A psychologically safe and healthy workplace is one where employees feel seen, heard, valued, and respected. It’s an environment that actively fosters employees’ mental wellbeing and works to prevent harm from things like poorly thought-out policies or procedures, and bad or unskilled managers. It’s about protecting psychological wellbeing.
Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces
Mind Share Partners' 2019 Mental Health at Work Report shows that the most common tools, resources, and supports that employees want to see are:
What Employees Want
- Mental health training.
- Easily available information about mental health resources.
- A more open and supportive culture for mental health in the workplace.
It’s sometimes hard to know how to support someone experiencing a mental illness. It may be comforting for a manager or employer to know that they don’t have to be an expert in mental health: they just need to be empathetic and supportive. Here are some tips:
Supporting an Employee with a Mental Health Challenge
- Listen non-judgmentally.
- Give reassurance and information.
- Encourage the person to get professional help.
- Encourage other supports such as self-care and reaching out to family and friends.
1 Mind Share Partners. (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.mindsharepartners.org/mentalhealthatworkreport