The Inoculation Of Resilience

Does workplace training fortify staff, making them less inclined to mental illness?

“How can I help an employee struggling with mental illness?” It’s the most frequent and most pressing question Charles Bruce hears when he speaks about workplace mental wellness. To gauge how problems with mental health impact the workplace, you can count the number of doctor-approved stress leaves, but that’s like looking at the tip of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic—there’s so much more beneath the surface. In fact “mental health incidents” only account for about 10 to 20 per thousand of the overall problem, says Bruce, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC’s) Workforce Advisory Committee and CEO of Nova Scotia’s Public Service Long Term Disability Trust.

In an attempt to tamp the spark before the flame, some larger organizations now offer psychological health and safety training programs. Training in workplace resilience helps employees bounce back and passes on the “inoculation effect” that experts see as a desirable side-effect of resilience. Having faced difficulties—and successfully made it through—these employees have built a stronger immunity to stress and are less likely to succumb in the future. They may even become inspiring resilience role models and mentors for their colleagues.

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