Although we’ve seen plenty of of work on mental health in the workplace, we still see questions about what we mean by ‘mental health’ and why we care about mental health in a safety conscious workplace. How are mental health and workplace safety related? Overall, the research and the practical work on the link between mental health and safety is limited.
It has been estimated that approximately 20% of the Canadian workplace experiences a mental health issue. When we consider stress as a mental health issue (and a potential precursor to more severe outcomes), up to 80% of Canadians report high levels of job stress. We know that mental health and safety are related, and that some of the outcomes of mental health (distraction, depression) lead to safety incidents.
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This webinar will provide insights into these relationships, looking at how we define and view mental health at work, and providing practical discussion for organizations, leaders, human resources, and occupational health and safety professionals.
Psychological health is NOT an end state nor an absolute. Everybody is dealing with stuff in their lives
In the past, organizations have tended to segregate safety issues/programs from other psychological health issues and programs. It is essential to integrate these perspectives to create healthier and safer workplaces.
We don’t know a lot about the link between mental health and safety in the workplace, so we currently rely on related works or anecdotal evidence.
We can address these issues in a variety of ways, using the EMPOWER model of (a) supporting individual workers (in terms of supports/accommodation and strengthening work groups (and their responses to mental health issues), and developing and supporting leaders to identify mental health issues, safety issues, etc.
We need to think about shifting our focus to primary interventions focus instead of a tertiary ‘treating the wounded’ mentality.
Workplace health and safety (including mental health) is a united responsibility of individual, coworkers, supervisors, unions, management, etc.
About the link among mental health, physical health, and safety
About effective workplace practices to (a) support workers, (b) create inclusive and effective workgroups, and (c) develop leaders to support mental health in a safety conscious workplace
How to evaluate your own workplace in terms of these practices
Create basic guidelines for integrating mental health into your safety practices
Arla Day is a Professor of Occupational Health Psychology at Saint Mary's University, and she is the Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and she was a Canada Research Chair for 10 years. Both her research and consulting work focus on supporting worker health and functioning by developing and validating effective organizational and individual programs that address inclusive leadership, healthy workplaces, workplace respect and civility, employee well-being, disability, and work-life balance. Arla served as an international advisor on the Stockholm Stress Centre’s Advisory Board, and was on the American Psychological Association’s Psychology in the Workplace Board. She chaired the Nova Scotia Psychological Healthy Workplace Program committee for 16 years, as currently chairs the NS Occupational Health Psychology-Summer Institute.