Gatineau, QC - The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) today released the Early Findings Interim Report of the Case Study Research Project examining the implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (Standard).

To better understand how workplaces across Canada are implementing the Standard, the MHCC, with generous support from the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, Lundbeck and the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program – Disability Component, initiated a three-year Case Study Research Project in February 2014 to follow over 40 organizations.  Preliminary key findings include:

  • Participating organizations have achieved 65% of the specified elements in The Standard at the interim phase in the project;
  • 90% of the participating organizations noted “Protecting the psychological health of employees” as the top reason for implementing the Standard, followed by “Right thing to do”, cited by 85% of the organizations;
  • “Managing costs” and “Limiting liability” were low in the list of reasons; given by organizations for implementing the Standard;
  • Organizations increasingly use important sources of data such as absenteeism rates (74%), EAP utilization (85%), and short- and long-term disability rates (72%), etc., to assess employee psychological health;
  • 80% of participating organizations have reviewed/updated their policies to include psychological health and safety in the workplace and 67% report having a policy statement focused on psychological health and safety; and,
  • More than 60% of organizations are taking actions to create respectful workplaces, enhance psychological health and safety knowledge among workers, support work-life balance, provide stress management training, and build resilience among workers.

“This week, 500,000 Canadians will not make it to work because of a mental health problem or illness. By 2041, the cost of lost productivity due to mental illness is estimated to be $16 billion every year;” said Mental Health Commission President and CEO Louise Bradley, adding, “by improving the management of mental health in the workplace productivity losses can be decreased by as much as 30%, I am pleased that the work of this study is validating the principle outlined in the Standard.”

The Early Findings Interim Report was released in Gatineau at the Conference Board of Canada’s better workplace conference.


ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA

Guided by Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health – at home, work, and school, as well as with the media and healthcare providers – from coast to coast to coast. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the Commission is Canada’s coordinating agent, bringing together the best and most influential minds in the mental health community. The MHCC is collaborating with hundreds of partners towards a mental health system that is inclusive, adaptable, and supports Canadians living with mental health problems and mental illnesses in their recovery journey. Together we accelerate change needed to transform Canada’s mental health system and the wellbeing of all.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca

Media Contact:
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Mental Health Commission of Canada
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Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.

 

 

Backgrounder

Case Study Research Project

Early Findings Interim Report

 

The Issue

Workplaces play an essential role in maintaining the positive mental health of employees. Workplace culture, management practices, and the way decisions are made and communicated can contribute to a psychologically healthy and safe work environment. A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that actively works to prevent harm to workers’ psychological health, including negligent, reckless, or intentional ways, and that promotes psychological well-being.[1]

Workplaces can also be a stressful environment that contribute to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. No workplace is immune from the risk of mental health problems, regardless of size, sector, or specialization. We know that one out of every four or five employees is affected by a mental health problem every year.[2] A 2008 Canadian Medical Association study found that only 23 per cent of Canadians would feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental illness.[3] This suggests that the number of people affected by mental health issues is likely higher than official tallies due to a significant proportion of individuals suffering in silence.

Growing Concerns, Rising Costs

A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey found that seven in ten Canadian employees surveyed reported some degree of concern with psychological health and safety in their workplace. Mental health problems and illnesses are the number one cause of disability in Canada, estimated to account for nearly 30 per cent of disability claims and 70 per cent of the total costs.[4] Of the $51 billion economic cost each year attributed to mental illness in Canada, a staggering $20 billion stems from workplace losses.[5]

With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, addressing mental health is vitally important for all Canadians. Mental health is a crucial piece of workplace health and safety and it can no longer be ignored or overlooked.

The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (Standard)

Championed by the MHCC and developed by the Canadian Standards Association and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec, the Standard is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools, and resources focused on promoting employee psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors. The Standard is supplemented by Assembling the Pieces: An Implementation Guide to the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, a step-by-step guide to help employers navigate through the Standard in their workplace. It is geared toward senior leaders, human resource managers, and occupational health and safety professionals. The guide is comprised of four key steps to implementation: building the foundation, identifying opportunities, setting objectives, and implementation.

The Case Study Research Project[6]

In February 2014, the MHCC launched a three-year, national Case Study Research Project to better understand how workplaces across Canada are implementing the Standard. The goals of this project are to monitor progress, identify promising practices, as well as challenges and barriers to implementation, and develop tools that will enhance adoption of the Standard across Canada.

This report is a summary of early findings at the mid-point of the project. They reflect data collection at two points in time: baseline and interim.

This report outlines progress-to-date of the 41 participating organizations, as well as barriers to implementation, and key promising practices. It synthesizes the experiences and discoveries of these pioneers, to support other Canadian employers to embark on their journey.

Within the report, we have highlighted a sample of the case study organizations to showcase their experiences and successes to-date. We hope these spotlights highlight the various ways in which an organization can take action towards implementing the Standard.

This project would not be possible without the continued support, commitment, and participation of the 41 organizations who have allowed the MHCC to follow their journey with the Standard.

Participating Organizations at Interim

Partial or Full dissemination

Potential Number of Employees Impacted by Implementation

  1. AGS Rehab Opportunities

Full

49

  1. Alberta Health Services

Full

100,000

  1. Alberta New Home Warranty Program

Full

50

  1. Bernardi Law

Full

11

  1. Bell Canada

Partial

36,000

  1. Belmont Health & Wealth

Full

30

  1. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Full

84

  1. Canadian Mental Health Association – Toronto Branch

Full

300

  1. Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Full

3,400

  1. Carleton University

Full

2,000

  1. County of Frontenac

Full

400

  1. Douglas Mental Health University Institute

Full

1,158

  1. Enbridge Gas Distribution

Full

2,300

  1. Garden City Family Health Team

Full

53

  1. Great-West Life

Full

11,000

  1. Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia

Full

9

  1. Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

Full

2,300

  1. Health Association of Nova Scotia

Full

100

  1. Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia

Full

112

  1. Lakeridge Health

Full

5,288

  1. Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors

Full

2,100

  1. Manulife

Partial

750

  1. Mount Sinai Hospital

Full

4,500

  1. Nova Scotia Health Authority - Cape Breton District Health Authority Pilot Site

Full

60

  1. Nova Scotia Health Authority - Capital District Health Authority Pilot Site

Full

11,000

  1. Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union

Full

60

  1. Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

Full

1,200

  1. Pickering Public Library

Partial

64

  1. Provincial Health Services Authority

Partial

4,000

  1. Province of Nova Scotia

Full

11,000

  1. RCMP – Division C

Partial

1,300

  1. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Full

75

  1. Regional Municipality of York

Full

3,000

  1. Region of Peel

Full

5,500

  1. Regina Mental Health Clinic

Full

60

  1. Rogers Communication

Full

29,300

  1. The Royal Ottawa HealthCare Group

Full

1,500

  1. The Scarborough Hospital

Full

3,100

  1. Toronto East General Hospital

Full

2,500

  1. Unifor

Full

500

  1. Via Rail

Partial

400

 

 


[1] CSA Group, CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013 Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation (csa.ca/z1003)

[3] Canadian Medical Association. (2008). 8th Annual National Report Card on Healthcare.

[4] Mental Health Commission of Canada. Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. (2012). http://strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca/pdf/strategy-text-en.pdf.

[5] Mental Health Commission of Canada. Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health in Canada. (2013). http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/system/files/private/document/Investing_in_Mental_Health_FINAL_Version_ENG.pdf

[6] To protect the confidentiality of the participating organizations and employees in the project, no identifying or personal information was collected, beyond the contact information for the key assigned contacts. All information collected in the course of the project is kept at a secured Canadian server. Only aggregate results are reported, unless explicit consent is provided by a participating organization. All participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.