This article is from the April 2013 issue of “The Link” from Great-West Life.
The workplace plays an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. That’s why the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace—a set of best-practices guidelines to help organizations promote a psychologically healthy and safe workplace—launched in January 2013.
Established by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the Standard addresses mental health needs in the workplace.
Voluntary and free of charge, the Standard can be used differently by each organization. Some may want to focus on policies, while others may want to start with a gap analysis or management training. Company size doesn’t matter. The Standard is set up so even small businesses can easily work towards it.
The MHCC reports that in any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or related illness. Annually, absenteeism and disability claims due to mental health issues cost the economy in excess of $50 billion. It’s good business sense to have a vested interest in preventing mental and physical illness, and promoting recovery and overall health.
Started in 2007, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace helps employers identify and address mental health issues that affect their employees. Last October, the Centre commissioned an Ipsos Reid survey—the results of which reinforce the value of a voluntary Standard to foster psychological health and safety in Canadian workplaces.
Free resources are available to help employers to start working towards the Standard. Learn more about the Standard and access helpful tools at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com. Access self-serve resources like Guarding Minds @ Work™ and learn how to assess the psychological health and safety of your workplace, take action and evaluate the results of your actions.
The resources are free. Use them to make a difference in your workplace.
Guarding Minds @ Work is a trademark of the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health Addiction (CARMHA) and is used with permission.
The Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and design are registered trademarks of The Great-West Life Assurance Company.
Photo credit: “One and Other-Mental Health” by Feggy Art on Flickr, and included the following caption, which I felt was worth repeating here:
Mental health on the Fourth Plinth (One and Other) performance art in Trafalgar Square, London.
I am standing on the plinth to represent people whose voices so often go unheard, either because they don’t have the necessary support, or they are socially isolated, or they are quite simply desperately marginalized: people with mental health issues.
According to the World Health Organisation, depression will be the second most costly health problem worldwide, coming second only to heart disease and ahead of cancer.
Despite this, however, and despite the fact that around one in four adults will experience them at some point in their lives, mental health problems are still surrounded by ignorance, fear and prejudice.
Research has shown that prejudice against people with mental health issues is actually increasing, despite social attitudes regarding sexuality, ethnicity and other similar issues improving.