2. People management
Front-line managers or supervisors
are often the first to be able to spot
changes in an employee’s behaviour
or work habits. The manager is in a
unique position to be able to observe,
ask questions and support a team
member who may be struggling. Yet,
the workplace needs to provide them
with the skills to be able to do this
effectively. A Conference Board study
(2011) reported that 44 per cent
of managers have had no training
in dealing with workplace mental
3. Train for awareness and skills
Help employees understand what
mental illness looks like and how it
might be experienced in the workplace.
Train managers to be effective
and confident in recognizing and
addressing a potential mental health
problem, without assessing or diagnosing.
Managers should be accountable
for promoting work-life balance
– recognizing warning signs or
performance indicators, understanding
what mental health supports are
available while respecting privacy
and limiting organizational liability.
Mental health training can help them
develop the confidence and skills to
engage in what could be considered
difficult or delicate conversations.
4. Early intervention
Don’t delay reacting to a workplace
indicator that may identify an employee
at risk of a potential mental
health problem. Don’t engage in
stigma-supporting conversations and
be sure to immediately address any
stigma-supporting comments of others.
Do bring the conversation about
mental health into team meetings
as a way to normalize and socialize
mental health as being as important
as physical health in assuring a safe
and healthy workplace. Small interventions
early on can help prevent
long-term negative effects of mental
illness costs to your bottom line.
Canadian companies must commit to elevating
and addressing mental health and
safety in the same degree of importance
that physical health and safety resides in
workplace policies, practices, performance
management and workplace wellness systems.
Only then can workplace stigma be
IF ONE IN FIVE OF YOUR WORKFORCE IS
SUFFERING A MENTAL ILLNESS, WHAT
IS THAT COSTING YOUR COMPANY
IN LOST PRODUCTIVITY?
40 ❚ JANUARY 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL