Business conferences have been around for many decades. Their focus was often on increasing sales or productivity. Keynotes about closing sales, marketing a product or service, or motivating employees were common.
At many of these conferences in the past, workplace mental health was rarely on the agenda. And yet, some of the top business gurus of the past, actually spoke about strategies that we now know align with the principles of psychological health and safety for the workplace.
Only within the past few years have both mental health and psychological health and safety made it onto the agendas for many business conferences. The Centre is happy to see this change.
At a recent conference, Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, put it this way: "People weren't talking about it. Now people can't stop talking about it," he said. "I have never seen an issue change so quickly."
The Health, Work and Wellness Conference had been around for some time when the Conference Board of Canada saw the need to change it into the Better Workplace Conference, with a greater focus on helping organizations connect the dots between personal and organizational changes and wellness.
The Bottom Line Conference, presented annually by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in B.C., has continued to expand its mandate of supporting the mental health of all Canadians in the workforce, bringing together business leaders, policy-makers, researchers, and employees.
Julia Kaisla Director, Community Engagement, CMHA, and organizer for the Bottom Line Conference said the value of bringing people from different workplaces together is an opportunity to share ideas and find common ground. "Everyone comes from different environments and backgrounds. They wear different uniforms, yet when they come together to talk about their own experiences related to mental health or why they want to champion the issue, they have so much in common. This really speaks to the universality of the issue."
Sari Sairanen, National Health and Safety Director, Unifor said this is a welcome change. "There has been a tremendous evolution. Psychological health and safety is now on the radar of everyone. We're not only looking at physical hazards but looking at psychosocial hazards and how to address them."
Get your free digital version of The Evolution of Workplace Mental Health at www.workplacestategiesformentalhealth.com.