The mental health of workers cannot be ignored. In any given week 500,000 people miss work every week due to a mental health issue.
"It's emerging as a rightful factor in organizational sustainability and competitiveness," asserts Andrew Harkness, WSPS' strategy advisor, organizational health initiatives. Andrew knows, as he spent more than a decade working with WSPS to actively promote the concept of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
"Diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues cost the Canadian economy $51 billion a year in mental health services, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life. This makes mental health a business imperative," he says.
Mental Health Week, a national event taking place May 1-7, provides a perfect catalyst to jump start your strategy to protect the mental well-being of your workers. Mental Health Week encourages people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health - including mental health at work.
With this in mind, WSPS eNews asked Andrew how recognizing Mental Health Week can help.
"It creates opportunities for conversations," he says. "Having open, informed conversations about mental health is the first step in identifying and implementing positive solutions."
Here are four low- or no-cost activities your workplace can undertake during Mental Health Week to jump-start these conversations.
- Help your leadership team understand what's at stake. Start by having team members answer 20 Questions for Leaders About Workplace Psychological Health and Safety. It will help your leadership team understand what's at stake and lay the groundwork for creating a mentally healthy environment.
- Recognize Mental Health Week in your workplace. Organize a lunch 'n learn, host a wellness fair, launch a communications campaign.
- Conduct a perception survey to understand how much employees know about mental health, and how they feel about the mental health climate at work. You’ll see where your workplace is doing well and where it can improve.
- Attend these sessions at WSPS' Partners in Prevention Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show, May 2-3 in Mississauga:
Also listen to conference keynote speaker Steven Page, founding member of the Barenaked Ladies and mental health advocate, who will talk about his own struggles.
- Clarifying the JHSC's Role in Workplace Mental Health
- Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace: GE Canada's Journey
- Is Your Organization Psychologically Safe?
- Mental Health Accommodations: Supporting Employee Success
These solutions will provide you with information, tools and other resources that can help you create an environment in which positive, solutions-focused conversations occur.
How WSPS can help
We have a suite of mental health resources on our website, and our consultants can help workplaces identify and assess mental health hazards.