MHCC launches a trio of new tools

Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), makes no bones about the need for improved psychological health and safety in Canada’s health-care workplaces.

“If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times. You cannot get well in an unhealthy health-care setting. Hospitals and long-term care homes are where I have seen some of the greatest need for improved mental health for employees,” said Bradley, who has served as a senior hospital administrator at a major teaching hospital. “I learned quickly that I wasn’t there to tell experts how to do their jobs, I was there to shift the culture they worked in.”

That’s why Bradley is so proud of the work the MHCC has undertaken to provide healthcare organizations with tools to improve the psychological health and safety of their workers.

“We are so fortunate to have worked in partnership with HealthCareCAN and the By Health, For Health Collaborative [consisting of health care leaders from across the country],” added Sandra Koppert, the MHCC’s director of programs and priorities. “Their advice and support have been invaluable over the last three years.”

This June, the MHCC launched three key resources specifically tailored to help health care workplaces better understand employee needs and learn how to step up and become psychological health and safety leaders.

“These tools were designed and tested by people working in all types of health care settings,  and they meet the unique needs of our industry,” explained Sandy Coughlin, former member co-chair of the By Health, For Health Collaborative and the director of occupational health and safety at Providence Health Care in B.C.

Caring for Healthcare Workers is a free online assessment resource (in English and French) that uses two tools: (1) the brief, confidential Psychosocial Survey for Healthcare, which invites staff members to share their perspectives on 15 factors in their specific work environment, and (2) the Organizational Review for Healthcare, a questionnaire designed to establish an organization’s present baseline and identify areas for improvement in creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.

The third new resource — the Caring for Healthcare toolkit — showcases four organizations whose leadership in adopting the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace has generated tremendous success on everything from improved patient engagement to decreased absenteeism: the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Alberta Health Services, and Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital.

Included in the toolkit are

  • stories from the field, which set the tone for the kind of dedicated efforts that usher in major results
  • a set of common principles, distilled from the best practices of the four example organizations
  • a compendium of resources and links to advance the journey of organizations who wish to join the growing ranks of Canada’s psychological health and safety leaders.

“We are zeroing in on health-care organizations, firstly, because they are expressing a desire for these kinds of resources,” said Ed Mantler, MHCC vice-president of programs and priorities. “Health-care organizations were far and away the most frequent users of the national standard. But, beyond that, we’re focusing on health-care settings because it will ultimately have a positive effect on the patient experience.”