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Case Study Research Project: Early Findings Interim Report

This 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. By improving the management of mental health in the workplace productivity losses can be decreased by as much as 30%.

Many workers choose to not seek treatment for their mental health problems or illnesses rather than risking being labeled as “unreliable, unproductive, and untrustworthy.” Protecting the psychological health and safety of employees has never been more important — for Canadians, for employers, and for the Canadian economy. Since launching the world’s first National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (Standard), the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has been helping employers across the country to safeguard the mental health of their employees through the Standard. To date, it has been downloaded over 25,000 times.

The Standard provides a framework to promote the mental health of, and prevent the psychological harm to, employees, providing guidance on resources to help organizations of all sizes and sectors. This voluntary tool benefits all employees and positively affects organizational health, including the bottom line.

To better understand how workplaces across Canada are implementing the Standard, the MHCC, with generous support from Lundbeck, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program — Disability Component, initiated a three-year Case Study Research Project in February 2014 to follow over 40 organizations on their implementation journey. We are pleased to share these early findings at the project’s halfway mark. We applaud the efforts of these trailblazers who are committed to, and champions of, workplace mental health and well-being.

The MHCC encourages all organizations in Canada to answer the call and take action to support psychological health and safety in their workplace. These early findings take a first look at promising practices in the implementation of the Standard, and we look forward to learning and sharing more from the project as it progresses.

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