How the MHCC is helping start the conversation around mental health in the workplace

Across Canada, companies of all sizes are realizing tangible benefits to investing in mental health

How the MHCC is helping start the conversation around mental health in the workplace

This article was sponsored by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Workplaces are playing a greater role in promoting positive mental health among employees. In North America, mental health has become a huge part of the corporate conversation in both small and large businesses – not just because of worker wellbeing but because there is a financial incentive to do so.

During 2020, claims for mental health support rose by 24 per cent, and of the $50 billion that mental health services cost in Canada annually, $20 billion stems directly from workplace losses. Across Canada, companies of all sizes are realizing tangible benefits to investing in mental health, recognizing that the greatest risk to their workforce is to do nothing.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a non-profit organization created by the Canadian government in 2007. It offers a range of virtual and in-person training to organizations wishing to improve employee mental health.

The MHCC’s The Working Mind (TWM) course is an evidence-based training, developed to initiate a shift in the way you think, act, and feel about mental health in the workplace. The organization has built a course specifically for those in the legal sector (TWM for Legal Sector Virtual) offering support, information, skills and tools to empower managers and employees.

The four modules focus on increasing self-awareness and taking care of one’s own mental health. Each module covers essential components of mental health awareness: mental health and stigma, mental health in the workplace, stress and resilience and supporting your team (for managers only).

“The Ontario Bar Association started the conversation around mental health in the legal profession, providing unique supports, strategies, and opportunities to talk more about mental health within Ontario's legal community.

We’re excited to be able to collaborate with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to offer The Working Mind certificate program – tailored and interactive training for law firm leaders that is an extension of this. It’s just another way the OBA is leading the shift in how the profession feels about mental health and building healthy workplaces.” Says Karen Perron of the Ontario Bar Association.

“The feedback we receive from participants is, ‘wow did we ever need this’,” says Julie MacMillan-Devlin, TWM Legal Facilitator. “Not only is it an option, it’s a must.”

In the legal profession, you’re expected to perform at 150 per cent all the time, says MacMillan-Devlin. “During the sessions we often discuss ways that participants practice self-care.” She says that a lot of the time you will hear participants saying that they try to get to sleep a couple of minutes early or give themselves some time to rest while having their morning coffee. “We pause and think, there’s 24 hours in a day and you try to take a couple of minutes for yourself, that’s it? For them, it doesn’t seem like an option to take the time to practice self-care.”

“On an almost daily basis, crown prosecutors and support staff within the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service see and hear things that put them at risk of vicarious trauma and other negative impacts on their mental health,” says Robert Beck, Senior Counsel – Operations and Strategic Support Office, Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General.

He says that as within the larger legal community, stigma has often prevented conversations around mental health in his organization. However, “The Working Mind training has allowed our staff the opportunity to learn how to approach conversations about mental health, increase their mental health literacy and be part of the work within our organization to reduce the stigma around mental health.”


To learn more about the Mental Health Commission of Canada and its training programs click here.