Ending the stigma of mental illness

Maryanne, January 30, 2019

Today marks the 9th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, which aims to break the silence around mental illness, and help support those living with mental illness in Canada.

The Canadian Mental Health Association estimates that 1 in 5 Canadians live with a mental illness or mental health problem in any given year. Sadly, many individuals living with a mental health illness are deterred from even seeking a diagnosis or treatment because of the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. The question that arises is what can employers do to help?

Workplaces play an essential role in managing and maintaining employees’ positive mental health. In addition, the law increasingly points to a legal duty to provide a psychologically safe workplace. For example the Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act and WSIB all contain provisions reflecting a need to prevent and respond to psychological health and safety.

There are many things employers can do to provide a psychologically safe environment:

  • implement strong policies on harassment, conflict resolution and health and safety
  • address toxic and dysfunctional teams
  • train managers not just on mental health but also on good management practices, especially how to have difficult conversations
  • implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace to prevent psychological injuries from occurring

Protecting employee mental health is not a one day initiative. It’s an every day initiative.

For more information on our training programs and services related to mental health and creating a positive and respectful work environment, contact us today.

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