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Mental Health Awareness - How Corporate Programs Promote Mental Wellness

Your mental health is essential to your overall well being especially during times of uncertainty. In Canada we have the opportunity to keep the conversation going during Mental Health Awareness Week (October 4-10) and on World Mental Health Day (October 10). Acknowledging the importance of caring for your mental health is the beginning of a healthy lifestyle.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Mental fitness helps us achieve and sustain a state of good mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it.” Throughout the challenges of life, you stand a better chance of dealing with difficulties when your mental health is in good shape.

Approximately 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.

Mental health at work

Since most people spend the greater part of their days at work, it is critical for employers to promote mental wellness. Corporate wellness plans should not simply be a perk of being employed with a certain company. Employees are not just looking for great compensation, but they also need a comprehensive wellness program to support their total being. The Mental Health Commission of Canada says that employers have an essential role to play to ensure their staff have the tools needed to be a truly productive contributor, “ can also be a stressful environment that contributes to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses. No workplace is immune from these risks and we cannot afford to limit our definition of occupational health and safety to only the physical.”

The rising cost of not supporting mental health is another astounding reality that is steadily rising, “About 30 percent of short and long term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually.”

Covid-19 & mental health at work

Life in general is stressful; but, needless to say, the tension that comes with unprecedented global events certainly intensifies the pressure. With more people working from home, it may seem like there is increased productivity, but it is likely stress induced which compromises the quality of work. While the daily commute may have been eliminated, longer hours in front of a laptop has resulted in less family and personal time. The inability to intentionally spend time building on personal health and wellness can directly impact your mental health. There’s never been a more important time to focus on the well being of every employee.

In addition to working from home, employees are juggling childcare, virtual learning, and/or caring for vulnerable family members while being isolated. There are also financial challenges that may have been a direct result of the government mandated lock down. When employers take these things into consideration and truly support mental health, their employees are happier and more resilient. Ultimately, healthier employees are more productive and have higher levels of engagement at work.

Support for employees working from home

Despite the uncertainty that comes with a pandemic, technology continues to provide tremendous opportunities. Various organizations have utilized HealthCasa to bring health and wellness to home offices through virtual healthcare services, such as: