2 in 5 employers lack mental health strategy: Survey

While mental health is often cited as a top reason for disability leaves in workplaces, just 39 per cent of Canadian employers have implemented a mental health strategy, according to a Conference Board of Canada survey.
“While many employers have mental health initiatives in place, a majority of them often lack a proactive mental health strategy that addresses the workplace risks that could negatively impact their employees’ health and wellness," said Louise Chénier, manager, workplace health and wellness research at the Conference Board of Canada.

Employers in the public sector were significantly more likely (47 per cent) than organizations in the private sector (33 per cent) to have indicated implementing a mental health strategy in their workplace.

Those employers that did not implement mental health strategies said it was due to:

• limited financial resources, human resources or time (56 per cent)
•a lack of knowledge on how to address mental health (32 per cent)
• mental health is not an issue in their workplace (31 per cent)
• mental health strategies are not a legal or legislative requirement (23 per cent).

Employers in the health, education, finance, insurance and real estate, public administration and the utilities sectors are more likely to implement a mental health strategy, said the report. In contrast, employers in traditionally male-dominated industries, like transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, construction, and natural resources, are less likely to have implemented a mental health strategy.

Although 72 per cent of employers believe their programs effectively supported an employee experiencing a mental health issue, only 56 per cent believe their programs proactively help employees maintain their mental health.

Healthy Brains At Work: Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits and Programs is based on a survey of 239 Canadian employers.