Be a Champion of Workplace Mental Health

May 2 – 8 is Mental Health Week, a good time to talk about Mental Health in the Workplace. Kerri Davies, Manager of Development at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge shared the following information as part of a Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce post:

In 2013, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the voluntary National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. This document was developed to help organizations strive towards a vision of a workplace that works to prevent harm to workers’ psychological health while also promoting psychological well-being.

According to The Standards, “Workplaces with a positive approach to psychological health and safety are better able to recruit and retain talent, have improved employee engagement, enhanced productivity, are more creative and innovative, and have higher profit levels.” The study indicates the economic cost of mental health problems and illness to the Canadian economy is at least $50 billion per year. This was 2.8% of Canada’s gross domestic product, in 2011. 500,000 Canadians in any given week are unable to work due to mental health problems and 1 in 3 disability claims are related to mental illness. Furthermore, stress causes 19% of absenteeism, 40% of turnover, and 60% of workplace accidents.

Notes Davies, “At the end of the day while we know that mental illness will affect 1 in 3 over a lifetime, ultimately mental illness affects us all. With only 50% of individuals living with mental illness ever seeking help – most often due to stigma – workplaces play a significant role in helping to reduce that stigma and helping people to find supports to enable them to live mentally healthy and productive lives – to the benefit of our whole community.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge offers the following tips to foster a mentally healthy workplace:

1. Reduce stigma and change culture – engage employees in the conversation. Consider contacting your local Canadian Mental Health Association for introductory workshops, including a review of services available or presentations on stress management, workplace mental health or depression.

2. Training and education – Consider training for your Human Resources Staff and other leaders in your organization on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health First Aid to create confidence in their ability to engage in conversations that may help someone at risk.

3. Prevent work related trauma – It is known that workers in careers as first responders, healthcare or social services are at higher risk to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). New prevention efforts include resiliency training and education, peer support and Suicide Prevention Training. Using new language such as “What Happened to You?” vs. “What’s wrong with you?” is very important to ensure employers see mental injury just as “real” as physical injury.

4. Employee Assistance Program – Make sure your employees know about it and how to access it. Family support is also important.

5. Check out the Standards – Develop a multi-year plan to improving workplace mental health as part of your overall strategic plan. This should include improving management capacity to become family with the Standards and how to implement them. Your local Canadian Mental Health Association may be able to provide support in this process.

6. Join Positive Mental Health Community Initiatives – Show your support for Canadian Mental Health Associations by participating in local golf tournaments or other community events.

7. Become a Champion of Mental Health – Consider hosting Mental Health Week for your employees. Ensure conversations about mental health are a workplace norm to reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage people to reach out.

At The Mane Intent, we offer a variety of Mental Health and Wellness programs for individuals, teams and small groups using Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (F.E.E.L.). Whether you are in between jobs, in transition, experiencing a rough patch in your life’s journey or just looking for a new adventure or experience to share with friends and family, our Mental Health and Wellness Programs are designed to help you develop your life skills and discover what’s possible to live life with courage, confidence and intent. A variety of both individual and group facilitated programs are available to help you:
• Overcome fear and address anxiety
• Improve attention and mindfulness
• Confront insecurities and develop confidence
• Cope with stress, grief, loss and unexpected set-backs
• Discover your leader within and learn about consensual leadership
• Learn to trust your instincts and intuition
• Nurture your creative soul and inspire your inner artist or writer
• Improve communication skills and develop the confidence to speak your truth
• Connect you to greater possibility using horse power
See more at:

The Mane Intent

May 6, 2016

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