Mental health in the workplace

Earlier this month, annual Mental Health Awareness week strove to increase our understanding of the widespread impact of mental health concerns in our country. One in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health disorder over the course of his or her lifetime.

Over the next few weeks, the Perspectives column will focus on mental health and wellbeing in our community, spiritually and in the workplace. Given the years of one’s lifetime spent at a place of employment, a mentally healthy workplace can have a major impact (whether positively or negatively) on individuals. The Canadian Institute for Health Information published a Mentally Healthy Communities: A Collection of Papers that addresses multiple areas that impact mental health.

Approximately 20-30% of claims for disability in Canada are related to mental health impairment, and additionally often underlies physical complaints. An article written by Dr. Mark Lau and Melody Munro, two researchers at UBC, outlines the factors involved in mental health and the workplace. Addressing mental health wellness in the workplace needs a two-pronged approach- improving the workplace environment, as well as building individual resiliency. Lau and Munro suggest that a workplace that has well clarified roles, a reasonable workload, and positive relationships between workers is a healthier place. Training managers to recognize and provide support to employees who are struggling is also an important piece. Strategies to increase individual resiliency include training employees in relaxation and stress reduction. Also, important are healthy habits around nutrition and exercise for individuals to maintain mental health. Unfortunately, all employers are not created equally. In one of my high school jobs a coworker missed several shifts due to the death of a close friend and our manager groused about it to the rest of the staff. This did not contribute to a work environment supportive of mental health and wellbeing since a key component to encouraging mental wellness in the workplace is employer supportiveness. For example, if an employee has been off work due to depression or anxiety ensuring that employees are given opportunities to come back to work gradually can have a huge impact on their continued mental health.

There are resources out there for readers who are interested in learning more about promoting mental health in their workplace. The Canadian Mental Health Association (www.cmha.ca) has an online Work/Life balance quiz and suggestions and resources for helping improve a health and sustainable balance. The Here to Help website (www.heretohelp.bc.ca) has a great collection of fact sheets, tool kits, and other resources to address a wide variety of mental health and addiction concerns.

On May 18th there is a free public forum at the UFV theatre put on by the Chilliwack Social Research and Planning Council. The panelists, consisting of mental health professionals, represent the areas of health, addictions, Aboriginal, children, and social development. This is an opportunity to learn how individuals within our community can contribute to a more mentally healthy community.

Marie Amos, MA, RCC, is a Mental Health Therapist with Child and Youth Mental Health of MCFD, Chilliwack.

Just Posted

Chilliwack toy drive brings in gifts, money to Ann Davis Transition Society

People dropped by Superstore to donate toys and more for those in need this holiday season

Chilliwack RCMP find chemicals and cannabis extract in illicit lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Chilliwack RCMP seek suspects in rash of poppy donation box thefts

Incidents at four different locations in Sardis in the days leading up to Remembrance Day

German-born British Columbian warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Train ride at Minter store not part of this year’s festive fun

Tough decision made to stop seasonal train in its tracks after injury suffered by Brian Minter

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Most Read