Ask the HR Department: Help! What are some ways I can support and address mental health at my work?

By HR and health & safety consultancy Peninsula Canada

Mental Health Research Canada has found that one in five Canadians live with mental health challenges. Employers will certainly feel the effects of this in many ways, such as decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

According to a new survey by Peninsula Canada, the workplace stigma around mental health appears to have lessened, with 43 percent of employers stating that they’ve witnessed people talking more about their mental health in the last 12 months. Although more workers are talking about mental health, employers can still do more to address and support mental health in the workplace. Here are four tips to get started.

Create a mental health policy for your workplace. Your mental health policy should set out the protocol to follow when an employee makes a mental health disclosure and requests an accommodation. It’ll help provide clarity to both employees and supervisors on what to do in such a situation. Include your mental health policy in your employee handbook and share it with your staff.

Be transparent in communication. Supporting the overall wellbeing of staff will help to create consistency and transparency with their teams. Burnout and job-related stress have become common in the workplace. Employers can do their part by keeping routine meetings for check-ins and communicating in advance when change is coming.

Connect employees to mental health resources. Employers need to evaluate their company benefits. There are several areas to consider from a mental health perspective. For example, does your policy include mental health coverage, time off policies, or an employee assistance program? Investing in resources can provide support for any employees struggling with mental health issues and can get the assistance they need.

Promote wellbeing. Employers can encourage well-being in various ways. These can include encouraging regular breaks, offering flexible work, and ensuring staff are using their designated days off.

Peninsula is an HR and Health and Safety consulting firm serving over 80,000 small businesses worldwide, including dealers in home improvement. Clients are supported with ongoing updates to their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. Additionally, clients benefit from 24/7 employer HR advice and are protected by legal insurance.