SUMMARY: Statistics and relevant research data that support the business case for addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Psychological health and safety

The following statistics highlight the positive impact on organizations implementing the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety compared to those who are not.

Infographic Days
  • In organizations implementing the Standard, 5% of employees say their workplace is psychologically unhealthy1, compared to 13% in organizations that are not implementing the Standard who say their workplace is psychologically unhealthy or unsafe.2
  • At organizations that are implementing the Standard, employees who are or have experienced depression are missing less time (7.4 days per year) from work compared to those whose organization is not implementing the Standard (12.5 days).3
Infographic Union
  • 26.3% of unionized and 23.2% of non-unionized respondents say their organization was actively involved in implementing the Standard or involved in ongoing efforts to maintain and improve key elements of the Standard.4
  • There is need for workplaces to invest in initiatives that promote positive workplace mental health to reduce psychological distress generally, as well as to protect employees from the negative impact of work stress.5

Management competence

  • Frequently cited factors deemed very or fairly stressful included frustration with poor management (54%) and not enough support from managers (47%).6
  • 43% of employees would like to receive more support from senior management and human resources.7
  • 4 in 5 managers believe it is part of their job to intervene with an employee who is showing signs of depression.8 While 55% of managers reported intervening9, only 1 in 3 report having had appropriate training to do so.10
  • 65% of managers say they could do their jobs more effectively if they found ways to more easily manage distressed employees.11
  • 63% of managers would like to receive better training to deal with this type of situation.12

Mental health is a workplace issue

  • There is now consistent evidence that certain work situations, including occupational uncertainty and lack of value and respect in the workplace, are associated with an increased risk of common mental disorders.13
  • 47% of working Canadians agree that their work is the most stressful part of their day.14
  • 16% of working Canadians say their workplace is a frequent or ongoing source of feelings of depression, anxiety or other mental illness.15
  • 38.6% would not tell their current manager if they were experiencing a mental health problem.16
  • 82% of employees with mental health issues indicate it impacts their work,17 while only 53% of those with physical health issues say it impacts their work.18
  • Numerous studies show that employees are more creative and able to achieve higher levels of job performance when they are in mentally healthy work environments.19

Mental illness affects many

Infographic Mental Illness
  • 1 in 5 Canadians (7 millions) will experience a mental illness annually20, yet only half, 1 in 10 Canadians, use health services for mood and anxiety disorders each year.21
  • Infographic Mental Illness Physicians
  • Depression alone is now equal to high blood pressure in terms of the top issue physicians see in their practice.22
    • The majority (63%) see depression, anxiety, and stress disorders as the fastest-growing issues over the past 3 years.23
  • Infographic Mental Illness Improve
  • Most mental illnesses begin before adulthood and often continue through life. But there is good news – we can almost always improve mental health, which can lead to:24
    • Increased productivity
    • Increased social functioning
    • Increased quality of life
    • Reduced health risk behaviour
    • Increased physical health
    • Increased life expectancy

Mental and physical health are linked

  • Direct associations have been found between perceived stress at work and cancer at 5 sites (lung, colon, rectum, stomach, and lymph tissue).25
  • Long-term stress increases the risk to developing coronary heart disease by 150%.26
  • There is an association between a wide range of mental disorders and adult onset asthma and stomach ulcers.27
  • Obesity has been associated with ADHD and depression.28
  • 50% of hospitalized heart patients have some depressive symptoms, and 25% develop major depression.29
  • Patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes are twice more likely to experience depression than their peers.30
  • Research suggests that psychosocial factors play an important role in the development of hypertension.31

Absenteeism and disability costs

  • Costs associated with mental illness (in terms of absenteeism, productivity, indemnities, and healthcare) were estimated at $51 billion in Canada in 2003.32
  • In a report from Dewa et al, Ontario employees who received appropriate care had fewer short-term disability days.33
    • For every 100 individuals this translated into $50,000 in disability benefit savings (roughly $500 per person).34
    • The cost for providing reasonable mental health-related accommodations are often fairly inexpensive, with most under $500 per person.35
  • Depression and anxiety are only two of many mental health conditions and they alone cost the Canadian economy an estimated $49.6 billion per year.36
  • 40% of Canadians report that their mental health has disrupted their lives.37
  • 17% of Canadians report that they have taken time away from work and school to deal with a personal mental health issue.38
  • 8% of Canadians report that they have taken time away from work to help a family member or close friend with their mental illness.39