At any given time, 1 in 5 people in Canada are living with mental health problems. Nearly half the population will experience some form of mental illness by age 40. That’s a lot of people and a lot of room for improvement!
Your company is missing out on talent and incurring additional health-related costs if it isn’t addressing and managing employees’ mental health issues in the workplace.
Ready to make changes at your workplace? First, assess the current situation by gathering input from every level of your organization.
1. Assess the current situation
This list of questions, adapted from resources produced by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, is a good place to start:
Culture & environment:
- Is your workplace inclusive and free of discrimination?
- Does your company emphasize civility in workplace interactions?
- Is your workplace flexible about when, where, and how people work?
- Does your company help employees find solutions to work/life conflict?
- Does your company provide paid sick days?
- Do employees take their entitled time off? (E.g. lunchtime, breaks, vacation time.)
- Does your company provide the resources employees need to meet the demands of their work? (E.g. training, mentoring, job shadowing)
- Are prospective and current employees with mental illness asked what they need to succeed?
- Does your company maintain low-pressure contact with employees who are on leave?
Now that you have this input, identify your company’s opportunities for improvement.
2. Take action
Again with feedback from all levels of your company, decide on priorities for the short, medium, and long term. Below are some suggested changes to help your company reduce stress and increase work satisfaction for everyone — likely reducing the risk of new mental illness developing.
Culture & environment:
- Be flexible about how, where, when people work — including different types of workspace, and working from home.
- Model respectful interactions at all times — with customers and team members at every level of your company. If you mess up, apologize!
- Encourage a company culture that values breaks and vacations. Leaders should model the importance of taking breaks and vacations, so other employees see that it’s acceptable behaviour.
- Regularly check in with employees and ask what they need to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
- When an employee has a leave of absence, stay in touch. But don’t exert any pressure on them. Reduce stress upon return by gradually increasing work hours, number of days worked per week, etc.
- Provide helpful employee benefits, such as Dialogue’s telemedicine-based mental health solution. This improves employee access to mental health care, and increases the efficiency of care delivery.
3. What about the cost?
You may have concerns about the costs of implementing these solutions.
Despite the financial cost, organizations focused on supporting employees' mental health can expect to reap the rewards of a strong return on investment. With an average five-year forecast showing benefits far surpassing costs (up to 7x), businesses can confidently make investments toward improving resources and accommodations for individuals dealing with mental health issues.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s 2018 research report goes into the details of the business case for recruiting and retaining people with mental illness.
Here are some benefits for the organization:
Increased job satisfaction and work relationships
Improved retention/reduced turnover
Improved talent attraction
Improved company reputation
Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
By implementing the necessary steps, your organization will surely reap the benefits, and best of all, you’ll see happier and healthier employees in your midst.
How Dialogue can help you improve mental health in your workplace
Improving employee mental health doesn't have to be complicated. Implementing a few simple changes can build a more positive environment that fosters healthy habits and prevents burnout. By addressing and managing employees’ mental health issues, your organization can attract and retain top talent, create a culture of vulnerability, and reduce health-related costs. Ready to make changes in your workplace? Before selecting a mental health solution, assess the current situation and gather insight from employees at every level to understand their well-being needs.
Dialogue’s Mental Health+ program is designed to help employees manage stress, anxiety, and other issues with the right level of intervention and ongoing support. Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive treatment according to their individual needs and preferences. To make this possible, we offer a comprehensive blend of self-guided and practitioner-led therapy. From preventive support to personalized treatment until remission, our mental health program removes barriers to care and empowers members to make mental health a priority.
Find out if mental Health+ is the ideal solution to support your employees and reinforce organizational well-being.
Have you heard of Dialogue’s unique Stress Management and Well-Being program? Learn more about why top Canadian business are implementing this comprehensive and innovative service to support their employees, and contact us for information.
Mental illness in the workplace, Canadian Mental Health Association