SAFE Work Manitoba: Employers key to psychologically safe and healthy workplaces

Did you know that one in five Manitobans will experience a mental health concern or illness each year? That could...

SAFE Work Manitoba: Employers key to psychologically safe and healthy workplaces

Did you know that one in five Manitobans will experience a mental health concern or illness each year? That could be you or someone you work with. Mental health concerns affect Canadians, and our workplaces, in a big way.

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 500,000 Canadians can’t work due to mental illness in any given week, and 70 per cent of disability costs in Canada are attributed to mental illness.

In the last year, COVID-19 has added to the mental health challenges many Manitobans face. Forty per cent of Manitobans say their mental health has deteriorated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey led by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the University of British Columbia. Now more than ever, it’s time to strengthen our efforts to make Manitoba’s workplaces more psychologically safe, and promote and protect our mental health.

Employers play an important role

Mental health is a part of safe work. We recently ran a public awareness campaign to remind Manitobans of the importance ofmental health and the fact that it can impact anyone.

One of SAFE Work Manitoba’s strategic goals is to champion a culture of safety and health in our province, where all Manitobans share values and beliefs that support workplace injury and illness prevention. This includes promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm.

Employers play an important role in achieving this goal. Employers who actively work to prevent harm and promote psychological health put a priority on several factors, including civility and respect, trust, honesty and fairness, clear leadership and expectations, open communication, and protection of physical safety. These employers will investigate serious issues such as discrimination and harassment promptly and respectfully.

Canadian Mental Health Association: Workplace Mental Health Solutions

There are actually 13 factors for employers to consider as they build a more psychologically safe and healthy workplace. Not sure where to start? The CMHA can help.

I recently spoke to Marion Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of CMHA in Manitoba and Winnipeg, about some of the tools and training they offer employers who want to make a positive difference on mental health in their workplaces.

Jamie Hall: How does CMHA support workplace psychological health and safety across Canada?

Marion Cooper: CMHA was part of the stakeholder group that helped develop the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The Standard’s purpose is to create mentally healthy and supportive workplaces. The first of its kind in the world, it has already been adopted by workplaces of many different sectors and sizes, in Canada and internationally. CMHA uses the Standard to guide leaders in creating meaningful change to support psychological health in their workplaces.

JH: What kind of training does CMHA provide employers?

MC: We have several options. For employers, managers and supervisors, we offer training on implementing the Standard, and on respectfully responding to employees who may be experiencing challenges with their mental health. For human resources and occupational health and safety professionals, we teach how to identify psychological considerations and include them in existing safety and health programs. We also provide certified advisor training to those who want to help workplaces with the Standard. The goal of all our training is to shift workplace culture to become more supportive and inclusive of those experiencing mental health issues.

JH: Can CMHA help employers create psychologically healthy workplaces in a hands-on way?

MC: Absolutely. As mentioned earlier, we train and certify advisors who can assess your organization. They will help you identify the psychological factors that affect the mental health and safety of your employees, and develop a tailored plan to address those factors. Our advisors can give you ongoing support as you carry out your plan. We want to help you create meaningful change in your workplace.

Thank you, Marion. Click here​ to learn more about CMHA’s Workplace Mental Health Solutions.

I also encourage you to explore SAFE Work Manitoba’s new Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Toolkit​.

Source: SAFE WorkManitoba

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