Employers have a responsibility to provide a psychologically safe workplace.
Every workplace is supposed to have a medical first aid kit, and staff are often encouraged to be certified and up-to-date with CPR training, but there's a continuing lack of understanding and education for dealing with mental health.
According to Donna Bowyer, branch director for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Moose Jaw, over seven million Canadians will be affected by a mental health issue in 2013. If this number was for cancer or diabetes, Bowyer argues, the public would not stand for it and would demand action.
Bowyer said there continues to be a large gap between employees and management over the amount of satisfaction felt towards mental health support in the workplace.
She pointed to a recent survey asking people if they thought their workplace supported mental health safety, where 82 per cent of managers believed they did. When the same question was asked to employees, only 32 per cent felt confident their place of employment was up to speed with addressing mental health concerns.
Bowyer said the large gap may be a result of management receiving information and training on dealing with mental health issues, but not being diligent enough in keeping the issue at the forefront, whereas front-line employees see co-workers struggling with mental health issues on a more freqent basis.
Another factor is the changing workforce. Cultural differences continue to change the workplace, based on different generations working together, and an increase towards a more multicultural workforce; these also need to be addressed.
The good news is that you as an individual continue to have the power to remove the stigma of mental illness. Your outlook is 50 per cent genetic, leaving the remaining half for a person to utilize in becoming a mentally healthier person.
Of that, 10 per cent is based on finances and employment, but 40 per cent is based on things we value in our lives, such as family, exercise, education and other forms of self-improvement.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.