What Is The Issue?

The workplace can be a strong contributor to mental wellbeing, giving people the opportunity to feel productive and achieve their potential. Yet it can also be a stressful environment that contributes to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses such as depression and anxiety. With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else—and with many youth holding at least part-time jobs—addressing issues of mental health at work is vitally important for Canadians.
A massive impact
In any given year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness. Nearly a quarter of the country’s working population is currently affected by mental health problems or illnesses leading to absenteeism, ‘presenteeism’ (coming to work but being less than fully productive) and turnover. Adults in their early and prime working years are among the hardest hit.
Approximately 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. Of the total economic burden caused by mental illness in Canada—about $51 billion per year—a staggering $20 billion stems from workplace losses.
The need to take action
No workplace is immune from the risk of mental health problems, regardless of size, sector or specialization. Yet a 2008 Canadian Medical Association study cited in the  Mental Health Strategy for Canada found that only 23 per cent of Canadians would feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental illness. This suggests that the number of people affected by mental health issues is likely even higher than official tallies show due to a significant proportion of silent suffering. Creating mentally healthy workplaces in large part includes comprehensive, well-informed approaches to prevention, promotion and anti-stigma initiatives. To read more, click here