Employers implementing psychological safety standard because it's 'the right thing to do': Survey

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released an interim report examining the implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
To better understand how workplaces across Canada are implementing the standard, the MHCC initiated a three-year case study research project in February 2014 to follow 40 organizations. Participating organizations have achieved 65 per cent of the specified elements in the standard at the interim phase in the project.

Ninety per cent of the participating organizations cited "protecting the psychological health of employees” as the top reason for implementing the standard, followed by it being the right thing to do”, cited by 85 per cent of the organizations. “Managing costs” and “limiting liability” were low in the list of reasons.

Organizations increasingly use important sources of data such as absenteeism rates (74 per cent), employee assistance program (EAP) usage (85 per cent), and short- and long-term disability rates (72 per cent) to assess employee psychological health.

Eighty per cent of participating organizations have reviewed or updated their policies to include psychological health and safety in the workplace and 67 per cent report having a policy statement focused on psychological health and safety.

More than 60 per cent of organizations are taking actions to create respectful workplaces, enhance psychological health and safety knowledge among workers, support work-life balance, provide stress management training, and build resilience among workers.

In any given week 500,000 Canadians will not make it to work because of a mental health problem or illness. By 2041, the cost of lost productivity due to mental illness is estimated to be $16 billion every year, according to MHCC.

But by improving the management of mental health in the workplace productivity losses can be decreased by as much as 30 per cent, said Louise Bradley, CEO of MHCC.