Lundbeck Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) teamed up to take the pulse of psychological health and safety in Canadian workplaces. More specifically, they wanted to understand where employers are at in their organization’s journey and how they can be supported best to promote workplace mental health. To that end, they invited organizational representatives from across Canada to complete an anonymous survey to share their perspectives on this important issue.

Just under 600 respondents from across the workplace spectrum and every province and territory (except Nunavut) completed the survey. Less than one in four organizations reported doing “quite” or “very” well in addressing workplace mental health. While 32 percent of respondents reported doing “somewhat” well, 42 percent reported not doing well at all.
Reaching a national standard

“The National Standard is one tool to help them get there, but it might not be the first tool organizations are reaching for."

When it comes to the voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard), launched with much fanfare in Canada three years ago, it’s clear based on those surveyed — outlined  in the chart below — that there is still a long way to go. A majority of those surveyed, 54 percent are not familiar with the standard.

Leaders are not walking the talk

At least part of the problem is leadership as 52 percent of respondents feel leadership does not walk the talk. Specifically, 36 percent point to a lack of buy-in and commitment from senior leadership.

“What’s most important is how workers — including leadership — feel their organization is addressing workplace mental health, whether their organization is considering the structures that create or interfere with psychological health and safety, and if they feel the supports exist for them to access help early,” said Julia Kaisla, Director Community Engagement, CMHA BC Division.

“The National Standard is one tool to help them get there, but it might not be the first tool organizations are reaching for. The survey also indicates that face-to-face contact with an expert, such as a workshop, is one of the tools they have found most effective,” she added.

Furthermore, Sarika Gundu, National Director, Workplace Mental Health Program, CMHA National stated, “We need to act now. There is way too much writing on the wall to ignore workplace mental health.” CMHA’s Workforce Mental Health Collaborative provides employers and unions with in-depth training, practical resources, and valuable support that can address and improve psychological health and safety in the workplace.

A summary of the findings outlined in this article can be found at www.cmha.ca