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The Working Mind

Through stigma reduction and mental health awareness, The Working Mind (TWM) program seeks to change Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes toward people living with mental illness, helping to ensure people are treated fairly and as full citizens with opportunities to contribute to society like anyone else. Program participants have shown an increase in resiliency skills and mental health wellbeing, and a decrease in stigmatizing attitudes.

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About The Working Mind

Stigma is a major barrier preventing people from seeking help for mental health problems or mental illness. The fear of stigma often delays diagnosis and treatment. If identified and treated early, mental health concerns can be temporary and reversible. Employees who understand normal reactions to stress and how to manage these reactions are more resilient. They have the ability to recover from stress, traumatic events, and adverse situations. It is possible to train people to recognize changes in their own mental health and become more resilient.

Why choose The Working Mind?

  • Evidence-based, founded on best practices, research, and methodologies
  • Part of the largest systematic effort in Canadian history focused on reducing stigma related to mental illness
  • Solutions-focused, aimed at cultivating an environment where people feel comfortable seeking help, treatment, and support on their journey toward recovery.

The Working Mind (TWM) is part of the Opening Minds initiative, managed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

Launched by MHCC in 2013, TWM was developed by clinicians and peers and based on scientific research and best-practices.

TWM has been adapted to fit the general workplace audience and was developed with help from the following project partners: University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Husky Energy, Nova Scotia Community College, Government of Nova Scotia, Capital District Health (NS/Halifax).

Opening Minds is the largest systematic effort in Canadian history focused on reducing stigma related to mental illness. Established by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in 2009, it seeks to change Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes toward people living with mental illness to ensure they are treated fairly and as full citizens with opportunities to contribute to society like anyone else.

Tackling stigma on multiple fronts

Opening Minds is addressing stigma within four main target groups: health care providers, youth, the workforce, and the media. As such, the initiative has multiple goals, ranging from improving health care providers’ understanding of the needs of people with mental health problems to encouraging youth to talk openly and positively about mental illness.

Ultimately, the goal of Opening Minds is to cultivate an environment in which those living with mental illness feel comfortable seeking help, treatment, and support on their journey toward recovery.

Why stigma?

People living with mental health disorders often say that the stigma they encounter is worse than the illness itself.

A number of programs across Canada are working on reducing stigma. Opening Minds has been evaluating more than 70 of these projects to identify those most effective at reducing stigma so they can be replicated across Canada. Evidence gathered through these evaluations will reveal best practices that will contribute to the development of anti-stigma toolkits and other resources .

At the same time, Opening Minds’ evaluation process is forging ties throughout Canada’s mental health field, creating a valuable network for sharing best practices and programs designed to reduce stigma.

Talk To Us

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No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada age 13+ who are the intended recipient of an invitation to complete the Mental Health Commission of Canada MHFA, TWM and TWMFR / Knowledge Product] survey and participate in the contest. Starts October 3, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. ET and ends March 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 6 prizes available: (i) 1 x $500 CAD online retailer gift certificate prize; and (ii) 5 x $50 CAD online retailer gift certificate prizes. Limit 1 entry per person/email. Odds depend on number of eligible entries. Math skill-testing question required. Full rules and entry details

Program Descriptions

The Working Mind (TWM) is an evidence-based program designed to promote mental health and reduce the stigma around mental illness in the workplace.

y reducing stigma and discrimination, TWM helps organizations create a culture that fosters greater awareness and support for mental health among employees, managers, and employers.

The Working Mind First Responders (TWMFR), formerly known as Road to Mental Readiness, is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a first-responder setting.

The Working Mind is designed to:

  • Improve short-term performance and long-term mental health outcomes;
  • Reduce barriers to care and encourage early access to care;
  • Provide the tools and resources required to manage and support first responders who may be experiencing a mental illness; and
  • Assist supervisors in maintaining their own mental health as well as promoting positive mental health in their employees.

The Working Mind (TWM) Healthcare focuses on providing workers in the healthcare industry with the tools to promote mental health in the workplace while also reducing the stigma of mental illness.

The Working Mind is designed to:

  • Understand mental health/illness;
  • Recognize signs and indicators in themselves and others;
  • Reduce stigma and negative attitudes towards people with mental health problems in a healthcare setting;
  • Support colleagues with mental health issues;
  • Maintain their own mental health and improve their resilience.

TWM for the Legal Sector Virtual is an evidence-based training developed to initiate a shift in the way you think, act, and feel about mental health in the workplace. It is specifically designed for employees and managers in the legal sector. The virtual course offers an employee version and a manager version for supervisors and team leads.

The Working Mind (TWM) Healthcare focuses on providing workers in the healthcare industry with the tools to promote mental health in the workplace while also reducing the stigma of mental illness.

The Working Mind is designed to:

  • Understand mental health/illness;
  • Recognize signs and indicators in themselves and others;
  • Reduce stigma and negative attitudes towards people with mental health problems in a healthcare setting;
  • Support colleagues with mental health issues;
  • Maintain their own mental health and improve their resilience.

Recent Blog Posts

If there was ever a need for crisis training, it was during the onset of COVID-19. That’s one reason the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) stepped into the breach by offering virtual training to more than 5,139 essential workers, who took over 574 courses between April and October.

The purpose of this guideline is to help support the mental health of workers by reducing the potential for negative effects of poor ergonomics in temporary work at home situations.

Civility and respect is correlated with the workplace factor of psychological protection. They meet similar human needs. When these factors are compromised, it can result in significant stress and can have tremendous impact on the energy level of an individual, a team and even the entire organization.

Related Case Studies

Toronto Education Workers Local 4400 (TEW) is made up of approximately 17,000 education workers working primarily within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). TEW is also home to childcare workers from various childcare centres and caretakers from Viamonde French Board, representing over 400 job classifications and over 1,000 worksites

The OAFC introduced The Working Mind First Responders (TWMFR) program, which is designed to promote mental health and wellness while reducing the stigma around mental illness in first-responder settings. Individuals who take the training learn how to improve their short- and long-term mental health outcomes and reduce barriers to care.

In 2021, WestJet teamed up with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to introduce The Working Mind (TWM) to their leaders. TWM is an evidence-based program designed to promote mental health and reduce the stigma around mental illness in the workplace.