Whether we've sponsored development of a resource, collaborated with another organization, or are providing information from a third-party expert, the Centre works to make resources widely accessible through our website and other means, and turns that knowledge into practical strategies and tools for all employers in Canada.
Each of the following initiatives contributed in its own way to the advancement of learning and knowledge of workplace mental health.
The Centre has commissioned or supported numerous national surveys and research initiatives that help inform the development of solutions for employers to foster psychological health and safety in the workplace. Many of the results are featured under Research and Papers in our Media Centre.
Free public resources
The Centre has worked with various organizations with expertise in the area of resource development to create and provide free-of-charge practical ideas, tools, and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention, and management of workplace mental health issues.
All of the following resources are available in English and French to anyone, at no charge, through the Centre’s website at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com.
Guarding Minds @ Work
Self-service resources to help small to large employers assess the psychological health and safety of their own workplace, and includes a framework for action planning and evaluation. The program helps employers understand and effectively address psychosocial issues affecting health and productivity in their workplace.
Dr. Joti Samra, Dr. Merv Gilbert, Dr. Martin Shain and Dr. Dan Bilsker acted as researchers and practitioners through the Consortium for Organizational Mental Healthcare (COMH), a leading national research centre in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, B.C.
Guarding Minds @ Work provides practical, user-friendly assessment tools, including an organizational review and an online survey to measure psychological health and safety in the workplace. It was first made available through the Centre’s website in 2009 and was subsequently updated in 2012 to more effectively align with the Standard and again in 2018 to improve the user experience.
On the Agenda
A series of videos and interactive sessions to help managers engage their teams in discussions about addressing workplace issues that may impact mental health.
Not all managers or team leaders are natural facilitators, and they may feel uncomfortable talking about the issue of workplace mental health. When we designed On the Agenda, we had these leaders in mind as well as those with a high level of skill in dealing with these issues.
On the Agenda is a series of videos, presentation slides and supporting materials which can help facilitate discussions related to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. It can be used as an extension of Guarding Minds @ Work or on its own, and was first made available through the Centre’s website in 2010.
Managing Mental Health Matters
A scenario-based training program designed to help managers, supervisors and other leaders learn how to effectively recognize and manage mental health-related issues in the workplace through a series of online videos and activities. The five episodes provide a guide on “Managing Emotions,” “Managing Accommodation,” “Managing Performance,” Managing Conflict,” and “Managing Return to Work,” Guides are available for those who train or supervise managers.
Many managers expressed that learning to manage employees with mental health issues can be complex, and that they learn better by seeing it done. Managing Mental Health Matters (MMHM) is a first-of-its-kind program that engages managers and supervisors in realistic, online, video-based learning. MMHM covers emotions, accommodation, return-to-work, performance and conflict management.This resource was first made available through the Centre’s website in 2010.
Working Through It
A video-based resource to help individuals reclaim well-being at work, off work or when returning to work. It focuses on video interviews of real people sharing their experiences of working through times of mental health pressures.
Their messages, aimed at employees, include three important themes: you are not alone, there are things you can do to reclaim your well-being, and there is hope for a better tomorrow.
Supplementary reference and checklist documents are also available as part of this resource A Leader’s Guide is also available to help you use this resource for mental health awareness education.
Working Through It was created by Mental Health Works and the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario with the support of the Centre. It was first made available on the Centre’s website in 2009.
Supporting Employee Success
A tool to help managers feel more comfortable talking about mental health issues, to help healthcare providers better understand workplace demands, and to help employees return or continue to work.
Healthcare professionals, employees and workplaces need a process to use when an employee may be in need of an accommodation. Supporting Employee Success was developed to provide a process that can help assess work-related triggers for emotional or cognitive issues, supports a thoughtful approach to finding accommodations, and facilitate the employee's well-being, while meeting the requirement for a safe and productive workplace.
This resource was created by Dr. Ian Arnold and Suzanne Arnold, PhD, with input from Dr. David Brown and Dr. David Posen.
Building Stronger Teams: Supporting Effective Team Leaders
A leader's guide and activities for developing resilience for you and your team.
Building Stronger Teams: Supporting Effective Team Leaders is a resource designed to help:
- Team leaders develop self-awareness and good communication skills.
- Develop a team’s ability to problem solve, be objective and work well together.
It’s available in English and French, at no charge, and includes team-building activities that focus on common workplace issues that can be customized for your unique work situation.
You can choose to work through the book from beginning to end, or you can pick and choose the activities that are the best fit for you and your team.
Psychologically Safe Interactions
A PowerPoint slide deck for facilitators to use in a workshop. These resources are meant to help increase awareness of how our behaviours may be interpreted as bullying, even when that wasn't the intention.
Psychologically Safe Interactions is a set of resources based on the premise that many, including those in management and union roles, aren't aware that their behaviour may be experienced as harmful by co-workers and employees.
These resources create awareness by encouraging workplace stakeholders to think about how they could contribute toward a psychologically safer workplace.
The resources include:
CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor Training
The Centre has supported the development of this certificate program with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to help train individuals as CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisors (PH&S Advisors). Contact the CMHA for information on upcoming certificate training opportunities.
In February 2017 at the CMHA national annual Bottom Line Conference, CMHA thanked the Centre on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, via a video presentation for its dedicated and continued support for CMHA.
Great-West Life and the Centre are the National Development Sponsors of CMHA’s Workforce Mental Health Collaborative.
Certificate in Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
With the support of the Centre, an online university program called Certificate in Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was developed by Dr. Joti Samra for the University of Fredericton (UFred). This program provides the knowledge and skills to help create and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Courses include a focus on the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). To learn more about the three-level certificate program, view UFred’s website.
Mindful Employer Canada
Executives, managers and union reps, along with human resources and occupational health professionals, all share an interest in positive workplace mental health. Great-West Life provides funding for Mindful Employer Canada’s In-House program which helps organizations build the capacity of their own in-house leaders to effectively resolve workplace issues.
Mindful Employer supports and mentors an individual within the organization to act as an “in-house” Champion. The Champion then helps support the development of all leaders to address workplace mental health issues.
Canada’s Safest Employers Psychological Safety Award
The Centre helped to establish and sponsored the national Psychological Safety Award as part of Canadian Occupational Safety magazine’s Canada's Safest Employers Awards. The Psychological Safety Award recognizes an employer that is a leader in working towards identifying and reducing or eliminating psychological hazards to employee well-being in the workplace, such as bullying, harassment or chronic pressure.
University/College Community of Practice for Workplace Wellness
The Centre is proud to support the human resources and workplace wellness professionals from Canadian universities and colleges. This forum is a singular opportunity for the Centre to hear from disability management and health promotion leaders to help us develop valuable and useful resources for improved workplace mental health.
Topics have included: Building Resilience for Students, The Evolution of Workplace Mental Health, The Students' Perspective on Responding to Mental Health Issues on Campus, Mindfulness - Practice and Review, Tools for Supporting Employee Success, Health Promotion, and Mental Health.
Occupational Health Professionals Forums
The Occupational Health Professional Forums have been a collaborative opportunity for sharing ideas, planning, testing and implementing resources to help support mental health in workplaces across Canada. The Centre began its support of the Occupational Health Professional Forum in June 2013 – where health professionals discussed the Standard and the challenges to implement it. Tools and resources to help support mental health in the workplace, along with the concept of a new resource called Supporting Employee Success (a process to use when an employee may be in need of an accommodation), were also the focus of the forum.
Vancouver Forum - Mental Health Commission of Canada
On September 30, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, a group of executives, labour leaders, health and safety professionals, government agency representatives and experts in law and policy came together to look at the implications of Dr. Martin Shain's paper entitled Tracking the Perfect Legal Storm: Converging systems create mounting pressure to create the psychologically safe workplace.
The group was tasked with considering what employers need to know and/or access to provide a psychologically safe workplace in today's economic environment. This also resulted in the publication of Elements and Priorities for Working Towards a Psychologically Safer Workplace.
This event was hosted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada with support from the Centre. In 2014, the Centre commissioned a second paper, Weathering the Perfect Legal Storm, which is a follow-up to Dr. Shain's 2010 report.
Consensus Conference on a National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
In 2009 a group of leaders and specialists drawn from government, labour, business, research, standards development and occupational health and safety were brought together by the Centre and facilitated by Bill Wilkerson, Founder of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health and Addiction. The purpose of the forum was to determine the benefit to the Canadian public in general, and every Canadian employee and employer in particular, of developing a national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. Consensus was reached, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada committed to taking this forward to completion.
The Centre’s role in the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Workforce Advisory Committee provided leadership and championed the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). The Standard was funded by the Government of Canada and the Centre.
Here is a brief history of the Centre’s involvement in the development of the Standard.
Assembling the Pieces: An Implementation Guide to the Standard was developed by CSA Group and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with help from the Centre. Available for free download, this easy-to-use guide breaks down the implementation process for the Standard into four key steps.
The 2009 Ipsos survey evaluated risk levels of psychological health and safety in the workplace. Two follow-up surveys (with over 6,600 employed participants) were conducted in 2012 to track progress on perceptions of depression in the workplace and psychological health and safety in the workplace. A third survey explored a new dimension, the emotional intelligence of managers and supervisors in the workplace.
These surveys provided data to help define and respond to workplace mental health needs, including identifying and addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace and addressing depression in the workplace. A few of the highlighted findings include:
- 83 per cent of respondents agreed it is easier for workplaces to deal with physical disabilities than with mental health conditions.
- 83 per cent of respondents agreed that workers have a responsibility to self-identify if they have a mental illness but 31 per cent felt that their direct supervisor would not be understanding or supportive if they did so.
The Canadian Standards Association and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (with additional funding support from the Centre and support for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s role by Bell Canada) created a balanced Technical Committee and finalized the Standard.
The Centre added a new section to its Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website to support employers who wish to implement a psychological health and safety management system, as described in the Standard. Great-West Life funded updates to Guarding Minds @ Work to align with the Standard as well as three new Ipsos surveys on psychological health and safety in the workplace, depression in the workplace and a new area – emotional intelligence of managers.
You can download a free copy of the Standard from http://www.csa.ca/z1003/ (English version).
At the request of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and with funding from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Standards Association and Bureau de normalisation du Québec began work on creating a national standard.
The Centre and the Mental Health Commission of Canada hosted a forum to ask leaders from government, policy, labour and business to describe the requirements for a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. The result was the Elements and Priorities for Working Toward a Psychologically Safer Workplace.
In response to the question of where to begin and where to invest limited time and resources in improving workplace mental health, the Centre commissioned the development of Guarding Minds @ Work. This breakthrough evidence-based tool, that employers can use free of charge, helps assess and address organizational factors that impact workplace psychological health and safety.
The Centre also commissioned the largest and most significant Canadian study to date to evaluate risk levels of psychological health and safety in the workplace. This survey was conducted by Ipsos and followed the Centre’s 2007 survey on depression in the workplace.
The Centre, along with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, hosted a roundtable to ask key leaders if a national standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace would be useful. There was unanimous consensus that a voluntary national standard would provide a valuable framework for employers.
The Centre was established by Great-West Life in response to a call to action by the Global Business & Economic Roundtable on Mental Health and Addiction. The Centre’s mandate was to take knowledge about workplace mental health and turn it into action, tools, and resources for employers. Initiatives, programs, events, research and surveys are funded by the Centre and by Great-West Life’s national corporate citizenship program, Stronger Communities Together.
The Centre is committed to enhancing workplace mental health, and that commitment has been recognized with awards from several organizations:
- Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace received the Hope, Healing and Health Award from Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.
- Mike Schwartz, Senior Vice-President, Canada Transformation, and former Executive Director of the Centre, was the recipient of the 2016 Pillar of Hope Award.
- Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Centre, was the recipient of a CSA Group Award of Merit, 2015
- Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Centre, was co-recipient of the 2013 Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award
- Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Mental Illness Awareness Week. Champion - Private Sector
- Who's Who in Workplace Health
- 2009 Champions of Mental Health
- 2009 Web Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development
- The Manitoba Schizophrenia Society Corporate Achievement Award was presented to Great-West Life in recognition of the company's philosophy, dedication and support in the workplace for those with mental illness. For more information about the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, click here.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, Work and Well-Being Award was presented to Great-West Life for its outstanding contribution in the promotion of mental health in the workplace. The award identifies an organization that has demonstrated the promotion of mental health in the workplace and co-operation between employees and community and agents within the workplace. For more information about the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, click here.