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Supporting Mental Health at Work

7th April 2021

Many of us have had experiences at work that have impacted our mental health.

Workplaces that perhaps left us with a sense of camaraderie, satisfaction, and achievement, or that filled us with anxiety, fear, or depression.

Last week Clinton Marquardt looked at how sleep can impact our physical and mental health.

This week we’re looking at how workplaces can develop and encourage a positive mental health environment instead of work environments that drain us, or leave us feeling anxious.

Supporting Mental Health At Work

Workplace stress, anxietyMany of us are spending 1/3 of our lives at work, and 1 in 3 Canadians are being impacted by mental health.

Workplaces and families are also dealing with an international pandemic that has further impacted mental health.

Those observations aside, there are many aspects of work that can more traditionally influence mental health:

  • Significant workloads and deadlines
  • Hours of work
  • Relationships with co-workers
  • Job satisfaction
  • Job and financial security
  • Length of commutes

With new, and traditional pressures at work, what should workplaces be considering in relation to supporting workers with mental health concerns in the workplace?

One of our well recognized speakers has some thoughts on that.  Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. (she/her/hers) will be speaking at our upcoming Wellness in the Workplace event April 22nd.

Dr. Samra is a national thought leader on issues relating to psychological health, wellness and resilience and is the CEO and Founder of MyWorkplaceHealth, a full-suite global consultancy on psychological health and safety (PH&S) with expertise in all things related to the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ9700-803/2013).

In addition to providing a positive, respectful workplace, and the capacity to identify and support mental health concerns, Dr. Samra identifies the need for employers to consider not only how we help our workers with mental health concerns, but also how we get them back to work once we’ve established that there are mental health concerns.

Returning to Work

In a blogpost on supporting workers with mental health issues; Dr. Samra has suggestions that will sound familiar to safety and HR professionals:

  • Maintain regular, supportive communication with workers absent with mental health concerns
  • Help workers find effective support
  • Consider return to work from a mental health perspective
  • Collaborate with returning workers to create a detailed return to work plan

These are well accepted return to work policies that currently exist in many workplaces.

In addition to Dr. Samra’s recommendations, the Canadian Mental Health Association  has additional suggestions on how to support co-workers experiencing mental health concerns.

Helping Out

We need to consider that statistics indicate we will have workers with mental health concerns in the workplace.

That this will impact wellness in our workplaces, productivity, and clearly the workers themselves.

As Dr. Samra points out, where we have mental health concerns for employees within our workplaces, we need to consider how to get our workers help for their mental health, and helping to get them back to meaningful work is essential.

Have you taken the Minds Matter assessment for your workplace?  If not, more information here on how in less than 5 minutes you can begin to assess how your workplace can help in supporting mental health at work.

Join us April 22nd for our online Wellness in the Workplace event, and listen to Dr. Samra provide further insights on how we can enhance psychological health, wellness, and resilience as we adapt to life with COVID-19.  Book your ticket here.

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