Every workplace has it’s own processes, procedures and personality, but despite these differences there remains to be difficulties that every workplace experiences no matter the industry. Mental health and wellness is one such concern that is affecting businesses both large and small as individuals struggle with mental illness and the overall atmosphere of the workplace. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, approximately thirty percent of short and long term disability claims are a result of mental illness, including anxiety and depression. Mental health and wellness can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially at work, but efforts are being made to change this through educating others and providing support to businesses.
Effects of Mental Illness
Mental illness is being discussed more and more every day. Initiatives such as Bell Let’s Talk, are working to dispel the stigma of mental illness and open up lines of communication amongst family members, friends, and colleagues. With five hundred thousand people calling in sick to work due to mental illness in Canada every week, it cannot be ignored.
While factors can cause mental illness outside of work, the culture and atmosphere of the workplace can contribute to it as well. Mental illness can effect a work environment in several ways, both for the person who is experiencing mental illness and the workplace itself. Mental illness can decrease productivity and employee engagement, affect morale, and even cause employees who are experiencing mental illness to look for work elsewhere.
How to Create A Healthy Workplace
Company culture has been a topic of discussion amongst businesses for years, as many are working to create a culture that represents the company and those who work there, but that also assists in creating a positive space for people to succeed and grow. As discussions around mental health and wellness have become even more frequent and open, companies are trying to create a place of work that is empathetic and prepared to help those who are struggling with anxiety and depression. This includes;
- Opening up the lines of communication
- Speaking about mental health and wellness at work
- Encouraging positive discussions and problem-solving techniques
- Defining job roles and positions
- Empowering employees
- Putting work-life balance at the forefront
- Reducing situations that cause stress or anxiety
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is also providing incredible tools and resources that businesses can use to help create a workplace that is equipped to help those who are experiencing difficulties with mental health.
It is believed that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives. As entrepreneurship continues to grow, and as businesses establish deeper roots in Canada, creating a company that identifies, accepts, and works to alleviate mental health issues should be a primary goal. If you have questions or concerns, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website, as they will be able to provide tools, resources, and additional information.