Stress reduction was cited as the topmost concern among most Canadian organizations when it comes to the mental health of their workers, according to a recent survey by Ceridian.
Eighty-five per cent of respondents state that employee mental health is either an important component or under consideration to becoming an important component of their organization's formal wellness strategy. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents cited “addressing stress” as their organization's most significant mental health concern.
While more than 90 per cent of Canadian organizations regard mental health as an important part of an overall health and wellness strategy, only 22 per cent believe the services they have in place to support employee mental wellness are adequate, the Ceridian survey found.
"The survey results indicate there has been a significant shift in employer thinking," said Estelle Morrison, vice-president of clinical and wellness services of Ceridian. "The previously-held view that employers need to support only those employees who are struggling with a mental health problem has evolved to one of supporting all employees in maintaining good mental health through prevention.”
Many employers now recognize that mental health is not only managed by a clinical treatment approach and recovery strategies, but also through preventative measures, she said.
The next step for more than 75 per cent of Canadian employers seems to be to identify and implement appropriate preventative solutions to support mental health, such as training and education, with a strong regard for reducing stigma and encouraging proactive behaviour and lifestyle change, found the poll of 400 Canadian HR professionals.
"We need to encourage individuals to manage their mental health in the same way they would their physical health," said Morrison. "Employers can play an important role in shaping how we view our mental health, and in supporting employees in reducing risks that are associated with an increased risk for developing a mental health problem."
Respondents' top three priorities for mental health program development are:
• employee effectiveness training (50 per cent) on topics such as stress management, resilience-building and conflict resolution
• a wellness program (43 per cent) to promote self-care including activities such as yoga, meditation and walking clubs
• specialized consultations (43 per cent) to support people managers in understanding mental health issues and effectively addressing potential mental health problems.