Workplace program for depression and arthritis

The Mood Disorders Society of Canada and the Arthritis Society have partnered in the delivery of a new workplace wellness program called Work With Us. Available free to workplaces across Canada, the program focuses on raising awareness about managing depression and arthritis, and how well-being can be supported through the use of interactive tools and techniques. Work With Us has been visiting Canadian workplaces since January, with more than 500 participants across the country to date.

The program is supported by Employment and Social Development Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component.

Arthritis and depression affect millions of Canadians — many of whom are in their peak earning years. In the recent Fit for Work Survey, one-third of the people living with arthritis reported having to leave work either permanently or temporarily because of their condition. The Mental Health Commission of Canada also estimates that mental illnesses accounts for more than $6 billion in business losses due to lost productivity from things such as absenteeism and turnover.

The Arthritis Society and Mood Disorders Society of Canada both recognize that the majority of these individuals want to remain productive and active in the workforce and believe these challenges can be addressed through practical tools.

"There is an important connection between chronic pain and mental health," said Phil Upshall, national executive director, Mood Disorders Society of Canada. "There aren’t many programs available that focus on the connection between our mental and physical health and it is exciting to be at the forefront on this.”

Work With Us actively trains workplace champions to deliver the program in various organizations. Every month, volunteer training is offered via webinar through the official website.

Available in both official languages, the program features the following:

•one to two hour customizable presentations featuring online resources including discussion forums, self-assessment tools as well as stretching and joint mobility exercises
•training, including a useful presenter’s guide
•videos featuring first-hand accounts of techniques that have worked for individuals who have experienced these conditions
•workplace information kits
•an online learning environment where project materials and links to resources can be accessed by those who want to get involved and host their own session and by those who want to learn more.

Visit for more information.