Thursday, January 17, 2013

New voluntary standard aims to help improved mental health at work

Canadian employers looking to create a mental health policy in their workplace now have a new set of guidelines to get them started.

On Wednesday, the Mental Health Commission of Canada along with several other groups released a voluntary national standard that organizations can use to help them bring in measures to promote and protect their workers’ mental health.

The standard, called "Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation," is focused on promoting the good mental health of employees, as well as preventing psychological harm from workplace stressors.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/new-voluntary-standard-aims-to-help-improve-mental-health-at-work-1.1116508 

Thanks to CSA, BCE and Bell Canada and many others for their initiative and aid in carrying this project through. I would like mental health consumers to be able to be in job where they can discuss their mental health with employers without stigma or the fear of losing their jobs. If one in five Canadians will have a mental health problem in any given year, how many in the workforce are experiencing problems?

Having flexible hours can help someone suffering from sedation from medication. Check-ins can also help if an employee has been absent for health reasons, exhibiting changes in their behaviour, or has a known mental illness. 

I do work for The Art Studios in Vancouver, a Vancouver Coastal Health program. In that environment, I feel safe because I can speak to the coordinator who is an occupational therapist about problems or conflicts I may have on the job or in related work. At The Art Studios, most of the instructors and all of the members are in recovery from a mental illness and/or addiction. To have someone there who is empathetic and non-judgmental and can give some suggestions or support is so important when one is re-entering the workforce or trying to maintain a job.

Human resources in large corporations or having someone on staff to oversee quality of performance and the general attitudes and behaviours of employees would be beneficial.  I believe creating a positive atmosphere with stress-reduction measures in regards to workloads and the workplace environment are important.

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