Welcoming Employees Back After Mental Health Leave

One in five Canadians will experience a mental health issue in their lives. For those going back to work after a mental health-related absence, the road to recovery doesn’t end with the return to work. Those who have been off experience low self-esteem, shame and isolation. Being afraid is a common state, with fear of being perceived as “weak” and fear of losing one’s job at the top of the list.

Re-entering the workforce after any absence does not imply that the employee will be functioning at optimum performance right away. According to a 2013 Conference Board of Canada report, “Depression in the Workplace: Insights from Employees and Supervisors,” two-thirds of employees returning to work after an absence due to depression have trouble concentrating, remembering things, making decisions and performing tasks — even if they are no longer depressed. The return to work can be a difficult time and going back to a toxic or too stressful work environment can set a person’s recovery back.

Employers who want to be informed and sensitive to potential pitfalls should consider the following three steps:

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Bill Howatt, PhD

Written By

Dr. Bill Howatt is Founder and President of Howatt HR specializing in supporting organizations interested in promoting employees mental health and reducing mental harms. Core offerings include Mental Fitness Journey, Mental Fitness Index (MFI), Psychological Safe Leader Training. www.howatthr.com, www.billhowatt.com

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