There’s no denying the impact of mental health in the workplace or the need for more open conversation around sensitive topics, especially because we spend more time at work than anywhere else. While it may be considered an uncomfortable subject, mental illness is an issue that affects us all.

Nearly 50 percent of Canadians experience some kind of mental health issue by the time they reach 40 years of age. It’s a leading cause of disability across the country. Unfortunately, while these are powerful figures, mental health issues go unmentioned far too often.

On an organizational level, a focus on positive mental health has become a mandate nationwide. Moreover, it’s one HR professionals have taken both to heart and to the decision-makers who have the opportunity to usher in a new era of workplace wellness. With a greater onus on employers to provide a workplace that is not only physically, but psychologically safe, the move towards what HR professionals have always defined as “people-first” thinking is underway.

However, as evidenced by silent statistics, as well as the shocking but all too common headlines and hashtags, finding solutions to workplace safety and mental health problems remains a work in progress.

A large part of this transition rests on the shoulders of HR, a profession that has evolved tremendously over a short span of decades to emerge as a strategic partner with forward-thinking companies and organizations. Nowhere has this evolution been marked more clearly— and carried across Canada’s three coasts and beyond — than with the CPHR (Chartered Professionals in Human Resources) designation.

A primary focus of the body behind those four letters, CPHR Canada, has been to keep people in the forefront of the minds of decision-makers. With over 27,000 CPHRs across the country already, that message is being heard where it’s needed most. From the administrative gatekeepers of yesteryear to the cultural catalysts and business partners of present, today’s HR professionals are aligned with people in mind.

Mending matters of mental health by fostering trust and growing culture from its core is not only within the purview of today’s CPHR; it’s integral to creating the safe workplaces and sustained success that will carry any business forward.

For those with challenges, and we all have them, rest assured — you can always ask a CPHR.