The Working Mind: Workplace Mental Health and Wellness Summary

Overview

  • The Working Mind: Workplace Mental Health and Wellness is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting
  • The Working Mind is based on the Department of National Defence’s program called Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR)

Goals

  • To support the mental health and wellbeing of employees
  • To enable the full productivity of employees
  • To ensure the workplace is respectful and inclusive of all employees, including those with mental health problems and mental illnesses
  • To encourage employees to seek help for mental health problems and mental illnesses

Objectives

  • To examine the effects of mental health problems and mental illness in the workplace
  • To help staff identify indicators of declining and poor mental health in themselves and others
  • To raise awareness about the stigma of mental illness and other barriers to treatment
  • To introduce the concept of the Mental Health Continuum Model
  • To review employees’, managers’, and employers’ mental health rights and responsibilities
  • To provide strategies staff can use to maintain good mental health

Central Components

  • The Mental Health Continuum Model (see Figure 1) categorizes one’s mental health within a continuum: green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill).
  • The continuum:
  • Allows individuals to identify indicators of declining or poor mental health in themselves and others (without diagnostic labels and their associated stigma)
  • Stresses that individuals can move along the continuum; if one ends up in the red “ill” phase, he or she can move back towards the green “healthy” phase
  • Teaches the appropriate actions one can take for themselves and for others at each point along the continuum
  • Some of the strategies contained in the program are Cognitive Behaviour Theory-based techniques that help individuals cope with stress and improve their mental health. They include positive self-talk, visualization, diaphragmatic breathing, and proper goal setting.
  • Research indicates that contact-based education is one of the best ways of reducing stigma. The Working Mind includes custom videos of people with mental illnesses describing some of their experiences with mental illness and stigma, as well as those who supported them and their journey to recovery.

 

Figure 1. Mental Health Continuum Model

Course Formats

  • There are two versions of The Working Mind: one for managers/supervisors (approx. six hours) and one for “frontline” staff (approx. three hours)
  • The course includes scenario-based practical applications and custom videos of people with lived experience of mental illness, and provides participant manuals and related handouts
  • Both versions include:
  • A focus on dispelling the myths of mental health problems and mental illnesses and reducing their associated stigma
  • An overview of the Mental Health Continuum Model
  • Self-assessment of one’s own mental health along the continuum
  • Strategies one can apply at each point along the continuum
  • The manager’s version includes:
  • Workplace accommodations and return to work
  • How to observe changes in employees along the continuum
  • Appropriate actions to take
  • How to communicate with employees about mental illness in a workplace context
  • There is also a five-day train-the-trainer course that equips people with the tools and skills to present both the frontline and manager versions of The Working Mind

For more information about The Working Mind, please email theworkingmind@mentalhealthcommission.ca