Mental Health Update

What managers/employers need to know

With Mental Health week upon us (May 7 to 13), Your Workplace has mental health at top of its mind. It is becoming more and more important for employers to understand what mental illness is and how to prevent it. Mental illness costs Canada $51-billion a year, with about one-third of it in lost productivity, according to the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. It is also the leading cause of workplace absenteeism.

Aware of the toll (and potential legal implications), companies are now catching on that providing a psychologically healthy workplace is more productive, and they are looking for answers. Organizations have taken bold steps on workplace mental health. Canada Post launched its Foundation for Mental Health in 2008 to increase awareness and help frontline organizations, caregivers, and family members who support people with mental health issues. In 2010, Bell Canada announced a five-year $50 million initiative to enhance awareness, understanding, and treatment of mental illness.

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