In honor of Healthy Workplace Month, we want to encourage you to consider a very important, yet somewhat taboo, topic. If you think mental illness isn’t a factor in your facility, think again. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reports that, each week, about 500,000 Canadians will not go to work due to mental illness. The annual effect on the Canadian economy is a loss of over $50 billion. Take a look below, and don’t be afraid to address this critical aspect of workplace health & safety.
What might be affecting workers’ psychological safety –
- Procedures for communicating feedback, instruction, direction
- Relationships with teammates
- Management style
- Lack of support/trust
What might indicate an employee needs help –
- Missed deadlines
- Reduced productivity
- Reduced quality of work
- Frequent absences or tardiness
- Relationship issues or conflicts with co-workers
- Withdrawal or reduced participation
- Anxiety, fearfulness, or loss of confidence
What might help improve workplace mental health & safety –
- Regular, solution-focused reviews
- Clear policies & supports which reduce stigma and encourage communication
- Defined job roles & expectations
- Re-prioritize tasks if an employee is overwhelmed
- Reduce pressure or stressors where possible
- Focus employees on tasks that energize them
- Develop a Workplace Plan in collaboration with the employee
There is no sure-fire way to identify mental health issues in the workplace, but your commitment to maintaining a safe, open, supportive culture will certainly help improve communication and productivity. Availability of literature, mentorships, and confidential support programs can also be useful tools for those who are embarrassed or unsure.
*Let us know how you plan on addressing mental wellness in your workplace.