What if we all talked about positive mental health in our workplaces so much that it became part of everyday conversation and influenced how we supported each other at work? Maybe then the need for conflict resolution, bullying awareness, harassment investigations, violence prevention or initiatives to reduce stigma or improve morale would lessen.
If we recognized that all of us deal with our mental health every day – from personal health or family stressors, to work demands, to upsetting world events – we would understand the value in protecting it and promoting our personal resilience to deal with whatever life presents to us.
What if we recognized that positive mental health is a byproduct of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace? Employers now have access to credible resources to help them with this. During Mental Health Week, which runs the first week of May, you may want to explore some of the resources that can help you to move from the “what ifs” to a mentally healthier workforce.
Julia Kaisla, of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in B.C. organizes the annual Bottom Line Conference, which brings business leaders, policy-makers, researchers, unions, and workers together to improve mental health in Canadian workplaces. She said, “There still needs to be more conversation about how this is a cultural change and how important it is for organizations to move towards a culture of psychological health and safety.”
This isn’t always easy, but there are now many resources available through credible not-for-profits that can help.
CMHA’s national Workforce Mental Health Collaborative helps by providing Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor Training for those who are tasked with making the business case to take action.
Mindful Employer Canada helps by building the capacity of those who manage employees to resolve workplace issues effectively and support positive workplace mental health through their Mindful Employer In-House program.
Partners for Mental Health facilitates organizational initiatives to raise awareness about mental health in the workplace with their Not Myself Today campaign.
Mood Disorders Society of Canada helps to raise awareness about depression with their Work With Us program (in collaboration with The Arthritis Society).
Finally, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace offers many free tools and resources through its website, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.
With all of this available, where do you start? The answer is to start where the initiative aligns with the existing goals and objectives of your workplace:
- If your current strategy includes improving staff engagement you may want to launch an awareness campaign.
- If your current strategy includes improving leadership effectiveness you may want to provide training.
- If you are dealing with organizational change, you may want to check out best practices to help employees manage change in a mentally healthy way.
No matter what you do during this mental health week, remember to also take care of your own mental health. If you think your mental health is being compromised by the stress and strain of life, check out the information on Burnout Response.