Resources and prevention strategies to manage psychological health & safety in the workplace.
Issues like workplace mental health and workplace violence and harassment are fast becoming major topics of concern for Canadian employers. The effects of these issues can be costly to both workers and organizations.
Mental health is an important part of a healthy and safe workplace. Workplace mental health encompasses conditions that affect the psychological and physical well-being of people. This is impacted by two factors: what workers bring with them to the workplace and what the workplace does to employees once they are there. Everyone has a role to play. Employees need to report significant risks and issues, like bullying and harassment, to their employer, and employers need to take action by promoting healthy minds in the workplace. Communication, management support and leadership are all ways to effectively support a healthy work environment.
Organizations are asking themselves how and what they need to implement a successful psychological health and safety program. Where do you start to garner support and inspire and unite workers in an attempt to bring about meaningful change? The resources on this page will help you learn more about how you can begin laying the foundation for success in the area of psychological occupational health and safety, including how to identify the risks, control the hazards and ensure your workplace has the necessary tools to meet legislative requirements.
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Work-Related Chronic Mental Stress
Work-related chronic mental stress is a diagnosed mental disorder predominantly caused by a substantial work-related stressor or series of stressors. Generally, a work-related stressor is considered substantial if it is excessive in intensity and/or duration as compared with the normal pressures experienced by people working in similar situations.
The WSIB led a consultation in the Fall of 2017 for input on a new Chronic Mental Stress policy. Read PSHSA’s consultation response here. Input received was used to create the WSIB’s finalized Chronic Mental Stress policy (Policy 15-03-14). As a result of the consultation, changes were also made to the Traumatic Mental Stress policy (Policy 15-03-02) to provide clarity between the two types of work-related mental stress.
These policy changes came into effect on January 1, 2018. As of this date, people with work-related chronic mental stress may now be eligible for WSIB benefits. WSIB benefits can include psychological assessments, treatment, prescription medications, wage replacement and return-to-work services.
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Beyond Silence CIHR and OHSPIP Funded Research
In partnership with McMaster University, PSHSA has committed to and undertaken the support of two separate research projects that are designed to provide Mental Health First Aid training and support to Healthcare and EMS Workplace.
ontario ministry of labour
The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development is using findings and insights to provide solutions to prevent mental stress, reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders and help people who have suffered mental injuries in the workplace. With a focus on prevention, response and support, the Ministry is committed to ensuring mental health is a priority for the Minister and Chief Prevention Officer, and will work across government to provide mental health supports in high-risk workplaces.
Psychological Health & Safety Standards
Canada’s first national standard is a voluntary standard focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors. The National Standard was also customized to provide guidance on good practice for the identification and assessment of hazards and management of psychological health and safety (PHS) risks for paramedic service organizations.
- National Standard of Canada: Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Study
- Psychological health and safety in the paramedic service organization
- The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Case Study Research Project Findings 2014 – 2017
- A Cross-Sectional Study of the Awareness and Implementation of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace in Canadian Employers
This free online toolkit assists first responder organizations with resources and services to support PTSD prevention.
BEACON Digital Mental Health Solution
PSHSA has partnered with BEACON to develop innovative mental health programs for Canadians.
PTSD Awareness for Police Officers Fast Fact
PTSD Awareness for Firefighters Fast Fact
PTSD Awareness for Nurses Fast Fact
PTSD Awareness for Children’s Aid Workers Fast Fact
PTSD Awareness for Teachers, Principals, and Educational Assistants Fast Fact
Use your mind to scan and calm your body
How to take this break
Take a break (in silence or with calming music) and start to focus on each area of the body – starting from the tips of your toes and working up to the crown of your head. Focus on achieving a sense of relaxation in each body part while scanning the body. Think about what you feel, what you hear and what you smell. This will help distract you from the pressures of the day by letting you get in touch with your senses.
Why this counts – Calming
Sometimes we’re not even aware of the stress we carry in our bodies. Once we learn to identify what we’re feeling, we’re better able to release the stress we might be experiencing both physically and mentally.
Ideas for this activity were contributed by- Bailey Vaez, Founder of Proactive Movement – Simple at Work Wellness Program; Katie Cino, Health Promoter, Niagara Public Health.
Work some yoga into your day
How to take this break
Co-workers can actually stay at their own desks and a meeting reminder could be sent daily to encourage staff to take this break time. Link to a guided Yoga video you can do at your desk.
Why this counts – Relaxing
Yoga breaks during the workday can help employees relieve stress and become refreshed and more focused for the rest of the workday. Go to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for more ideas, tools, and resources to help with the prevention, intervention, and management of workplace mental health issues.
Ideas for this activity were contributed by Donna Kubik, Wellness & Accommodation Consultant – IWK Health Centre, Halifax Area Healthy Workplace Network Meeting; Katie Cino, Health Promoter, Niagara Public Health; Halifax Disability Management Services Office, The Great-West Life Assurance Company.
Visit Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for more ideas, tools & resources to help with prevention, intervention & management of workplace mental health issues.
TakeYourBreak activities should be approved by your employer/leader prior to initiating them. TakeYourBreak activities are provided for general information only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician or appropriate health care provider with respect to your particular circumstances.
Feeling down or anxious? Check out the TruReach Mental Wellness App
The TruReach app gives users quick and engaging lessons based on cognitive behavioral therapy. TruReach isn’t a replacement for seeing a mental health professional, but it is a self-help tool designed to help you deal with feelings of depression and anxiety.
More Information & Tips
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Fatigue is an emerging health and safety hazard that presents an unsafe condition in the workplace and like any other risk factor, fatigue can be managed. Learn More
Concerned about Violence in the Workplace in the Healthcare sector? Visit workplace-violence.ca to learn more. For Violence in the Education sector, visit here.