If you are in distress, you can call or text 988 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

HomeWhat We DoWorkplace Mental HealthAdvancing Psychological Health and Safety within Healthcare Settings

Advancing Psychological Health and Safety within Healthcare Settings

What is the issue?

While every sector needs to protect and promote mental health in the workplace, doing so in health-care settings is more challenging. According to research by Casselman (2013), health-care workers are one and a half times more likely to be off work due to illness or disability than all others.1

Not only is protecting and promoting psychological health and safety in your health-care workplace the right thing to do, it can

  • lower health-care costs
  • decrease absenteeism and turnover
  • reduce medical errors
  • increase patient satisfaction
  • enhance your organization’s reputation
  • boost productivity
  • improve morale and relationships.

The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, recognized as a leading practice by the Health Standards Organization, describes 13 factors that contribute to (or threaten) psychological health and safety in Canada’s workplaces.

But given the unique psychological risks and opportunities facing health-care organizations, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and HealthCareCAN have developed two additional factors relevant to that sector:

  1. Protection from moral distress: A health-care work environment where staff are able to do their work with a sense of integrity while being supported by their profession, employer, and peers.
  2. Support for psychological self-care: A health-care workplace where staff are encouraged to care for their own psychological health and safety.

[1] Casselman, Nancy. (2013, June 18). Wellness metrics in action [Panel presentation]. Conference Board of Canada Workplace Wellness and Mental Health 2013 Conference, Toronto, Canada.

What are we doing?

Below are more psychological health and safety resources developed by the MHCC, HealthCareCAN, and other health organizations across Canada.

Masked doctors

Exploring Two Psychosocial Factors for Health-Care Workers
Learn more about facilitators and barriers to supporting the two unique psychosocial factors specific to health care: 1) protection from moral distress and 2) support for psychological self-care.

How to support health-care workers at work
A summary of the research report on facilitators and barriers to supporting two psychosocial factors for health care and recommendations for leaders to address these factors.

Examining Two Psychosocial Factors in Long-Term Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A brief that offers policy change considerations to better support long-term care workers’ psychological well-being.

Psychological Health and Safety Toolkit for Primary Care Teams and Training Programs (PH&S Toolkit) A psychologically healthy and safe environment leads to improved team learning, team performance, and continuous quality improvement environments. The PH&S Toolkit aims to empower comprehensive primary care teams and training programs to promote psychological health and safety through a set of curated, evidence-informed resources focused on team-based activities, policies, and practices.

Declaration of Commitment to Psychological Health and Safety in Healthcare
A public pledge from health organizations to show that they value the psychological health and safety of their staff and are committed to taking action on improving their work environments.

Caring for Healthcare
A toolkit that shows how other health-care organizations have addressed psychological health and safety in their environments (includes links to practical tools and templates used in the sector).

Caring for Healthcare Workers
Assessment tools uniquely designed to help the health-care sector assess and mitigate psychological risk (includes a staff survey and organizational review).

Transforming Healthcare Organizations
An MHCC-LEADS Canada partnership project to help health-care organizations implement the Standard through a LEADS lens.

Join the Movement: Advancing Psychological Health and Safety in Healthcare Settings
A video about what’s at stake and why an organizational commitment to psychological health and safety in health-care settings is crucial.

Advancing Psychological Health and Safety for Health-Care Workers
A video on the importance of addressing the two psychosocial factors specifically linked to workers’ chronic stress in health-care settings: protection from moral distress and support for psychological self-care.