Mental health issues in the workplace a growing concern for Canadian employers (report)

In this timely report released yes­ter­day on PR Newsire, Cana­dian employer data is col­lected and ana­lyzed to show that EAPs “Cana­di­ans’ qual­ity of life, reduce the eco­nomic chal­lenges of reduced pro­duc­tiv­ity in the work­place and ease the pres­sure on the health­care system.”
In today’s age, a stag­ger­ing one in five Cana­di­ans strug­gle with the bur­den of men­tal health issues such as stress, anx­i­ety and depres­sion, among oth­ers.1 The every­day chal­lenges that these indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­ence puts a sig­nif­i­cant strain on not only their per­sonal, but also their pro­fes­sional lives. Employ­ers con­tinue to grap­ple with the impacts of men­tal health issues in the work­place and to iden­tify the best means of sup­port­ing their employ­ees — enter Employee Assis­tance Pro­grams (EAPs).

EAPs pro­vide employ­ees with coun­selling and refer­ral ser­vices to help them cope with men­tal health issues, which are the lead­ing cause of long-term dis­abil­ity, and a major cause of short-term dis­abil­ity, con­flict at work and absence. In fact, in an aver­age week, more than 500,000 Cana­di­ans will not go to work because of men­tal ill­ness.2,3 While EAPs are an impor­tant means of pro­vid­ing assis­tance to address a wide vari­ety of prob­lems, the ques­tion remains, how well known and under­stood are these pro­grams among the Cana­dian workforce?

We’ve long known that coun­selling and sup­port ser­vices, like those offered by employee assis­tance pro­grams, improve the lives of those strug­gling under the weight of dif­fi­cult men­tal health issues such as  anx­i­ety and depres­sion,” says Allan Stordy, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Arete Human Resources Inc. (AHRI), a lead­ing national provider of EAPs, unique busi­ness assis­tance pro­grams (BAPs) and the com­mis­sion­ers of the study. “But now we can link these pos­i­tive results to a very real cost sav­ings for employ­ers and our pub­licly funded health care system.”

Accord­ing to the study, sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in men­tal health were seen in indi­vid­u­als with access to an EAP with reduc­tions in depres­sion, anx­i­ety and stress lev­els three months after the last coun­selling ses­sion. After EAP use, pub­lic health care uti­liza­tion relat­ing to spe­cial­ist vis­its was reduced. Fur­ther, the study found that reduced work pro­duc­tiv­ity and sig­nif­i­cant employer costs observed at intake high­lighted an orga­ni­za­tional need for the ser­vices. At time of intake, 66 per cent of par­tic­i­pants had per­for­mance issues that pro­duced an esti­mated aver­age eco­nomic loss of $1,063 in the last four weeks for employ­ers. This trans­lated into an aver­age annual loss per par­tic­i­pant of almost $13,000 asso­ci­ated with absen­teeism and presenteeism.

As an employer, our main pri­or­ity is to help our employ­ees main­tain a suit­able work-life bal­ance and pro­vide them with nec­es­sary sup­ports when they have chal­lenges in their lives that affect their work per­for­mance,” says Peter Strat­ton, Chief Peo­ple Offi­cer at West­ern Finan­cial Group. “Insti­tut­ing an EAP has enabled us to play an enhanced role in con­tribut­ing to the over­all well-being of our employ­ees, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing last summer’s flood in Alberta. This pro­gram is a crit­i­cal part of our employee ben­e­fit pro­gram and one which is well-respected by our West­ern staff.”

Indi­vid­ual, employer and social out­comes all con­tribute to improved work­place men­tal health. Through EAPs, pos­i­tive impacts involv­ing all stake­hold­ers are achiev­able. Prior to enter­ing the EAP pro­gram 66 per cent of all study par­tic­i­pants reported hav­ing mod­er­ate, severe or extremely severe prob­lems with stress, anx­i­ety or depres­sion. Three months after com­plet­ing the coun­selling pro­gram less than 32 per cent fell into these same categories.

Liv­ing with Men­tal Health Issues
Men­tal ill­ness can affect any­one, no mat­ter the age, gen­der or race. Liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness presents a sig­nif­i­cant bur­den for indi­vid­u­als and their family/friends, largely due to the fear and stig­mas asso­ci­ated with the con­di­tion. Inter­est­ingly, a mere 50 per cent of Cana­di­ans are open with friends or co-workers about a fam­ily mem­ber with a men­tal ill­ness in com­par­i­son to 72 per cent who openly dis­cuss a diag­no­sis of can­cer, for instance.4 Also of note is that 20 per cent of Cana­di­ans will per­son­ally expe­ri­ence a men­tal ill­ness dur­ing their life­time; how­ever, main­tain­ing good men­tal health is equally as impor­tant as main­tain­ing good phys­i­cal health.5

About the Study
Inves­ti­gat­ing the global value of a Cana­dian Employee Assis­tance Pro­gram is the first of its kind to exam­ine the eco­nomic and social impact of men­tal health chal­lenges and the value being pro­vided by EAPs in help­ing peo­ple man­age these issues. A sam­ple of Cana­dian employ­ees was vol­un­tar­ily tracked before and three months after access to AHRI’s EAP ser­vices Arive® and Acumin®.

Ref­er­ences


1 Smetanin, P., Stiff, D., Bri­ante, C., Adair, C., Ahmad, S., & Khan, M. (2011). The list and eco­nomic impact of major men­tal ill­nesses in Canada: 2011 to 2041., Risk­An­a­lyt­ica, on behalf of the Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion of Canada.
2 Cal­cu­lated from data in Dewa, Chau, and Der­mer (2010), “Exam­in­ing the Com­par­a­tive Inci­dence and Costs of Phys­i­cal and Men­tal Health-Related Dis­abil­i­ties in an Employed Pop­u­la­tion,” and Sta­tis­tics Canada employ­ment data.
3 Cal­cu­lated from data in Insti­tute of Health Eco­nom­ics (2007), “Men­tal Health Eco­nom­ics Sta­tis­tics in Your Pocket,” and Sta­tis­tics Canada — Labour Sta­tis­tics Divi­sion (2011), “Work Absence Rates 2010.“
4 Cana­dian Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (2008). 8th Annual National Report Card on Health Care.
5 Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada. A Report on Men­tal Ill­nesses in Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/miic-mmac/chap_1-eng.php. Accessed Jan­u­ary 2014.

Source Report (PDF For­mat): Down­load here

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How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

Could a worksite wellness program be hazardous to your health?

An inter­est­ing take on the fast-growing plethora of “well­ness” pro­grams (and we use those quotes inten­tion­ally). Per­haps not as ripe with poten­tial harm as the snake-oil of yes­ter­year, there are cer­tainly some pit­falls to avoid in the plan­ning and selec­tion of who may be that ‘provider of choice’ for your own well­ness program.

Three Sur­pris­ing Haz­ards of Work­site Well­ness Pro­grams” is an edi­to­r­ial just released in Forbes (Feb 4) and the author opines on just this…in the con­text of a comic book pro­posal, if you can believe.

Although geared towards cau­tious crit­i­cism of Oba­macare and work­site well­ness pro­grams ‘requir­ing’ par­tic­i­pa­tion, have a read. Though Home­wood Health does not endorse any of the com­ments expressed by the author of the edi­to­r­ial (e.g. “these pro­grams apply equal mea­sures of coer­cion and dis­paragmenet toward the peo­ple they are sup­posed to help” we do agree that more care­ful and informed plan­ning is needed before an employer makes that all impor­tant selec­tion choice.

Reflect­ing on a book “Sur­viv­ing Work­place Wellness…with Your Dig­nity” the author of the edi­to­r­ial has this thesis:

The authors [of Sur­viv­ing Work­place Well­ness] agree that the work­site well­ness move­ment is not only a pri­vacy haz­ard, but a health haz­ard and busi­ness haz­ard to boot. While some of us might be will­ing to tol­er­ate a cer­tain amount of pri­vacy loss if we thought it would improve our health and save some money, Lewis and Khanna make a com­pelling case that poorly designed well­ness pro­grams don’t help at all. In fact, these pro­grams in the well­ness busi­ness 1) dis­may and alien­ate employ­ees, pre­cisely the oppo­site goal of a health “ben­e­fit,” 2) fail to reduce health costs, and 3) harm employee health.

And…

A well-designed well­ness pro­gram does not threaten to dock Superman’s pay if he doesn’t get a cho­les­terol test. A good one might instead add a salad bar to the Daily Planet cafe­te­ria. The lat­ter doesn’t sound like some­thing Perry White would do, but after all the Chief has never been the model of a good boss.

Apart from mak­ing the case of the need for evidence-based proac­tive well­ness planning,

Read the source edi­to­r­ial here.

The rec­om­mended solution?

And for those would appre­ci­ate a solu­tion to this, we offer some of the fol­low­ing “dos” in EAP and well­ness provider selec­tion  EAP­Buy­ers­Guide

  1. When eval­u­at­ing Employee Assis­tance Pro­grams, make cer­tain that you are com­par­ing “apples to apples.” Com­pare the indi­vid­ual ser­vice pack­ages and how they best meet your needs. Resist “cost shop­ping” and sim­ply choos­ing your EAP based on low­est price alone. A qual­ity EAP will offer a fair price, a full-service pack­age and respon­sive service.
  2. The range of EAP ser­vices — cri­sis response, con­sul­ta­tion, assess­ment, refer­ral, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and man­age­ment sup­port – these are the crit­i­cal com­po­nents and the keys to deter­min­ing the right fit and the right choice of EAP.
  3. A full-service Employee Assis­tance Pro­gram should pro­vide the Buyer with a set of com­pre­hen­sive, inte­grated EAP ser­vices that meet the needs of the orga­ni­za­tion, the employ­ees and their dependents:
  •  (e.g. con­fi­den­tial 24-hour any­time, any­where counseling,
  • Tele­coun­selling,
  • Online coun­sel­ing,
  • Assess­ment and referral,
  • R]ferral follow-up,
  • Dis­abil­ity management,
  • Crit­i­cal inci­dent response,
  • Edu­ca­tion and train­ing in men­tal health and related issues for man­age­ment and leaders,
  • Edu­ca­tion and train­ing for employ­ees in per­sonal health
  • Maintenance/improvement, inte­grated sub­stance abuse assess­ment and inter­ven­tion (access to in-patient ser­vices for advanced interventions),
  • Pro­fes­sion­ally cre­den­tialed coun­selors and allied coun­sel­ing and well­ness staff.
  • Guar­an­teed health-information con­fi­den­tial­ity (e.g. HIPAA compliance)
  • EAP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (e.g. Coun­cil CON Accred­i­ta­tion, COA compliance)
  • Aware­ness materials
  • And var­i­ous other value-add ser­vice com­po­nents (e.g. work-life services).

The list is too expan­sive and com­pre­hen­sive to list here, so con­sider read­ing “EAP­Buy­ers­Guide”.

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How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

For our brokers: Receive seven CE credits when you attend the Mental Illness SOS training

Home­wood Health is host­ing a com­pli­men­tary full day work­shop for bro­kers only on Feb­ru­ary 26th 2014 from 8am-4pm at the Wind­sor Arms Hotel in down­town Toronto..  Bro­kers will receive 7 con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cred­its pro­vided by Advocis.

Home­wood Health is pleased to invite you to a com­pli­men­tary full day train­ing (a value of $2,295) to develop aware­ness and skills around men­tal ill­ness. Tak­ing place on Feb­ru­ary 26, 2014, in the ele­gant sur­round­ings of the his­toric Wind­sor Arms Hotel, the ses­sion will pro­vide you with the oppor­tu­nity to:

  • gain knowl­edge on the com­plex­i­ties of men­tal ill­ness in an easy to under­stand way;
  • develop tools to address the stigma around men­tal ill­ness in the work­place; and
  • learn tech­niques to approach and have dis­cus­sions with employ­ees in var­i­ous circumstances.

Deliv­ered in an inter­ac­tive set­ting by a Mas­ters’ level expert with expe­ri­ence in orga­ni­za­tional and men­tal health, the train­ing will include an executive-level dis­cus­sion and pre-training inter­view to ensure that your learn­ing needs are addressed.

In addi­tion, when you attend this com­pli­men­tary full day ses­sion, you will receive 7 CE cred­its to con­tribute towards your pro­fes­sional mem­ber­ship require­ments through Advo­cis – The Finan­cial Advi­sors Asso­ci­a­tion of Canada.

For more infor­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter, please con­tact Greg Van Slyke at gvanslyke@homewoodhumansolutions.com.  Spots are lim­ited, so we encour­age you to con­firm your atten­dance as soon as possible!

We look for­ward to wel­com­ing you to the training!

——————————————————————————–

How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

Investing in Employees’ Health Leads to Increased Productivity

An annual gain of 10 hours in pro­duc­tive time for work­ers who improve health!
Work­place health pro­mo­tion pro­grams that improve employee health can lead to sig­nif­i­cant increases in pro­duc­tiv­ity — and asso­ci­ated cost sav­ings, reports a study in the Octo­ber Jour­nal of Occu­pa­tional and Envi­ron­men­tal Med­i­cine, offi­cial pub­li­ca­tion of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Occu­pa­tional and Envi­ron­men­tal Med­i­cine (ACOEM).“Participating in health pro­mo­tion pro­grams can help improve pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els among employ­ees and save money for their employ­ers,” accord­ing to the study by Rebecca J. Mitchell, MPH, and col­leagues of OptumHealth, Golden Val­ley, Minn.The researchers ana­lyzed the pro­duc­tiv­ity effects of a pro­gram in which well­ness coaches pro­vided tele­phone sup­port to help employ­ees address health prob­lems or risks. The study used mea­sures of lost work time includ­ing absen­teeism as well as “pre­sen­teeism” — time spent at work with reduced productivity.The pro­gram led to sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in lost work time — equiv­a­lent to about 10.3 hours in addi­tional pro­duc­tive time per year. Sav­ings aver­aged about $350 per par­tic­i­pat­ing employee, com­pared to sim­i­lar work­ers who did not par­tic­i­pate in the well­ness program.

The sav­ings were even greater for employ­ees who suc­cess­fully improved their health or low­ered health risk in at least one area. For a typ­i­cal employee, the gain in pro­duc­tive time amounted to about 0.5 percent.

Effec­tive health pro­mo­tion pro­grams lead to sav­ings in med­ical and absen­teeism costs. The new results “add to the grow­ing body of evi­dence that invest­ing in a healthy work­force can help to increase pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els of employ­ees,” Ms. Mitchell and coau­thors con­clude. How­ever, they add, “It takes time and com­mit­ment for pro­gram par­tic­i­pa­tion to yield success.”

Cita­tion — Mitchell RJ, Ozminkowski RJ, Serxner S. Improv­ing employee pro­duc­tiv­ity through improved health. J Occup Env­i­ron Med. 2013;55(10):1142–8.

——————————————————————————–

How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

Just released: Mental Health Commission of Canada announces further work on workplace health

Released Jan 16 by PR Newswire comes some great news for work­place men­tal health.

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW/ — Fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful launch one year ago of the world’s first National Stan­dard for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Health and Safety in the Work­place, the Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion of Canada (MHCC) is announc­ing plans to fur­ther work with Cana­dian busi­nesses and drive uptake of the Stan­dard in work­places across Canada.

Busi­ness, labour lead­ers and the Gov­ern­ment of Canada will join the Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion of Canada and host Valerie Pringle as well as employ­ers from across the Cana­dian work­force for the announcement.

In one short year, the Com­mis­sion has received an over­whelm­ing response to the Stan­dard, with Cana­dian busi­nesses eager to sign on,” said Louise Bradley, MHCC Pres­i­dent and CEO. “With roughly half a mil­lion Cana­di­ans miss­ing work each week due to men­tal ill­ness, Cana­dian employ­ers know it’s time to invest in a psy­cho­log­i­cally safe work­place. This new research project is a chance to drive momen­tum for work­place men­tal health across Canada.”

The event, hosted by MHCC and its part­ners, CSA Group (CSA) and Bureau de nor­mal­i­sa­tion du Québec (BNQ), will be mul­ti­fac­eted and will involve an announce­ment by the MHCC and its part­ners as well as reveal uptake of the Stan­dard over the past year.  Over 15 busi­nesses of all shapes and sizes will be avail­able to dis­cuss their expe­ri­ences with the Stan­dard and expec­ta­tions as to how the announce­ment will affect their work­place.  Sep­a­rate announce­ments by pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pants will also take place dur­ing the event.

——————————————————————————–

How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

Helping a colleague with suspected mental health challenges

In antic­i­pa­tion of the release of Home­wood Human Solutions’s upcom­ing “Men­tal Health SOS for super­vi­sors, man­agers, and lead­ers” the fol­low­ing sum­mary of infor­ma­tion from the e-course may help you under­stand and take actions to deal with sus­pected men­tal health issues in your workplace.

Men­tal health, whether you call it well-being, emo­tional wel­fare or men­tal health, is key to liv­ing a ful­fill­ing life. But many things can be hap­pen­ing in an employee’s per­sonal and work life that leave them feel­ing down or upbeat, calm or edgy, want­ing to withdraw.

Men­tal health prob­lems affect the way a per­sonal thinks, feels and behaves. When some of these feel­ings, thoughts, and actions become dis­tress­ing, over­whelm­ing, and/or inter­fere with car­ry­ing on rou­tine activ­i­ties of daily per­sonal and work life, men­tal health prob­lems can result. And, in some cases, men­tal health prob­lems have existed for a long time, with­out any impact, but stresses and other events ‘trig­ger’ their rec­cur­rence and expression.

Men­tal health ill­ness is diag­nosed by a doc­tor and is not a per­sonal weakness.

What are the most com­mon men­tal  health prob­lems?
Anx­i­ety and depres­sion are the most com­mon prob­lems with around one in ten peo­ple affected by a mix­ture of the two at any one time. Although anx­i­ety and depres­sion are com­mon, they can be severe and long-lasting and have a big impact on an employe’s abil­ity to get on with life.

Only 1–2% of peo­ple expe­ri­ence a severe men­tal ill­ness, such as bipo­lar dis­or­der or schiz­o­phre­nia, and have peri­ods when they lose touch with real­ity. This may be expe­ri­enced as hear­ing voices, see­ing things oth­ers do not see, hav­ing unusual thoughts and beliefs, and/or feel­ing excep­tion­ally ener­gized and self-important.

Some symp­toms of a men­tal health chal­lenge are shared, but no two employ­ees behave  in exactly the same way when they are unwell. And because of shame and stigma, many of these same indi­vid­u­als live with their men­tal health prob­lem with­out seek­ing help, keep­ing their thoughts, feel­ings, and con­cerns to them­selves because of fear of col­leagues and oth­ers’ reactions.

Depres­sion

Every­one expe­ri­ences vari­a­tion in mood, but depres­sion is a long last­ing low mood that inter­feres with the abil­ity to func­tion, feel plea­sure, or take an inter­est in things. It is not a sign of per­sonal weak­ness or a phase that can be willed away but a con­di­tion that needs treat­ment to reduce symptoms.

Depres­sion affects any­one of any age, includ­ing young chil­dren. It is one of the most com­mon men­tal ill­nesses. More than 15 out of every 100 peo­ple will expe­ri­ence an episode of depres­sion dur­ing their life. (note, how­ever, these fig­ures are based on peo­ple who actu­ally seek help, and there will be more who remain undi­ag­nosed). Women are diag­nosed with depres­sion more than men but this could be due to the fact that women are more likely to seek help.

Symp­toms of depression

Not every­one who is depressed will expe­ri­ence every symp­tom, and no one symp­tom is indica­tive of depres­sion. Some of the most com­mon symp­toms are:

  • Per­sis­tent low mood, feel­ing sad
  • Reduced energy, decreased activity
  • Loss of inter­est and enjoy­ment in plea­sur­able activities
  • Loss of concentration
  • Tired­ness after lit­tle activity
  • Sleep­ing and eat­ing less (although this can some­times increase)
  • Low con­fi­dence
  • Loss of inter­est in work
  • Dif­fi­culty learn­ing new infor­ma­tion or concentrating
  • Feel­ings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Sui­ci­dal thoughts and acts

Anx­i­ety Disorders

Anx­i­ety, worry and fear are feel­ings that every­one expe­ri­ences now and again. They can be use­ful emo­tions, help­ing us to be aware of risks and respond to chal­leng­ing or dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. They pre­pare the body to take action to pro­tect itself (the so-called ‘fight or flight’ response).

How­ever, those indi­vid­u­als chal­lenged by an anx­i­ety dis­or­der expe­ri­ence anx­i­ety, worry, fear or panic at a greater level than is nor­mal. The anx­i­ety can be caused by spe­cific sit­u­a­tions or it can be present con­stantly. Anx­i­ety dis­or­ders are gen­er­ally more com­mon in women than in men, but this can vary depend­ing on the type of condition.

Of note:

  • An anx­i­ety dis­or­der is diag­nosed when some­one feels anx­ious all, or a lot of the time for no log­i­cal rea­son to the extent that this impacts every­day life.
  • Obses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der, panic attacks (sud­den onset of fear, a sense of dying), post-traumatic stress dis­or­der, and spe­cific pho­bias are exam­ples of anx­i­ety disorders.
  • Anx­i­ety dis­or­ders can cause both phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal symptoms.
  • Anx­i­ety Dis­or­ders are some of the most com­mon men­tal health problems.

Some of the most com­mon symp­toms of anx­i­ety dis­or­ders include:

  • Appear­ing pale and tense
  • Being eas­ily star­tled by every­day sounds
  • Hav­ing dif­fi­culty concentrating
  • Avoid­ing cer­tain situations
  • Feel­ing con­stantly irri­ta­ble or worried
  • Dif­fi­cul­ties sleeping
  • Feel­ings of dread or impend­ing doom
  • Heart pal­pi­ta­tions
  • Sweat­ing
  • Heavy and rapid breathing
  • Dizzi­ness
  • Faint­ing
  • Indi­ges­tion
  • Stom­ach aches and sick­ness (espe­cially in young children)

Many peo­ple feel one or more of these at one time or another, but peo­ple with anx­i­ety dis­or­ders expe­ri­ence them more fre­quently and to the extent that they inter­fere with their lives. Which symp­toms and how severely they are expe­ri­enced will be dif­fer­ent for each dis­or­der and person.

How can you help?

When a col­league tells you they have a men­tal health prob­lem, becomes dis­tressed or starts behav­ing out of char­ac­ter, it can be very con­fus­ing. It may dis­tress you, too. Know­ing how to respond can be dif­fi­cult and it can seem eas­ier to ignore the sit­u­a­tion than to try to pro­vide sup­port. But pro­vid­ing sup­port at work can make a huge dif­fer­ence to someone’s life.

The most impor­tant thing you can do is treat this per­son with respect and dig­nity. Talk­ing with your col­league is the first step towards find­ing out how they would like you to sup­port them.

Key points:

  • It’s good to talk. It takes a tremen­dous amount of courage for a per­son to dis­cuss how they feel and they may feel ashamed to ‘admit’ their men­tal health chal­lenges. Be open and tell them that you care. Let your col­league know that you are there if they want to talk.
  • Allow your col­league to share as much or lit­tle as they want to, do not pry If you have ques­tions that would help you under­stand what they are going through, tell them that they don’t have to answer if this make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Make it clear that you don’t blame them for their prob­lems. Do not make judgements.
  • Do not diag­nose some­one or sec­ond guess their feelings.
  • Ask open-ended ques­tions (e.g. “tell me how you are feel­ing?” not “I see you aren’t feel­ing well, you seem low and sad.”). Don’t ask too many ques­tions at once.
  • Keep your lan­guage neutral.
  • Reas­sure them your con­ver­sa­tion is pri­vate and will not be shared with oth­ers if they do not want.
  • Ask them how they would you to help them.
  • Ask if there is any­thing that the per­son find helps them cope if you can help them with this.
  • Encour­age them to get pro­fes­sional help.
  • If you are aware that a col­league has self-harmed, make sure they get the sup­port and the first aid they need.

What you can do as a manager

Man­agers often find it dif­fi­cult to deal with some­one they think has a men­tal health prob­lem, par­tic­u­larly if the per­son or they them­selves are reluc­tant to talk about it. But it’s impor­tant to talk.

Key points:

  • After you have arranged for mod­i­fied work duties and have had ini­tial con­ver­sa­tions with your employee about their sit­u­a­tion, arrange reg­u­lar follow-up meet­ings to check how they are cop­ing and whether fur­ther changes to work­ing arrange­ments are needed.
  • A phased return to work can be help­ful, with some­one work­ing a few hours a day and build­ing back up to work­ing their con­tracted hours. If you’re unsure what is rea­son­able, ask for advice from your HR man­ager or occu­pa­tional health advisor.

 

——————————————————————————–

How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

Employers play a critical role in de-stigmatizing mental illness

In the Octo­ber 2013 issue of Ben­e­fits Canada our own Judith Plotkin pro­vides com­men­tary on the crit­i­cal role employ­ers play in de-stigmatizing men­tal illness.

From the arti­cle, Judith notes:

Accord­ing to the Cana­dian Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion (CMHA), stigma is a result of neg­a­tive stereo­types around men­tal ill­ness that con­tinue to be rein­forced in the media, which often depict the men­tally ill as vio­lent and unpre­dictable. In the work­place, employ­ees view col­leagues liv­ing with men­tal health con­di­tions with sus­pi­cion and ques­tion their capa­bil­i­ties, which can result in these employ­ees being over­looked for promotions.

A 2007 Ipsos Reid study found that 79% of North Amer­i­can work­ers think peo­ple would hide the fact that they had a men­tal ill­ness from their employ­ers to avoid hurt­ing poten­tial career oppor­tu­ni­ties. Almost 50% believe that if an employee is absent as a result of his or her men­tal ill­ness, he or she is likely to “get into trou­ble and maybe even fired.” And a sur­vey con­ducted in the United States found that more than half of employ­ers would be hes­i­tant to hire a per­son who is men­tally ill, while one-quarter would dis­miss an employee who had not dis­closed the ill­ness. It’s not sur­pris­ing, then, that the major­ity of peo­ple with a men­tal health con­di­tion keep quiet and don’t divulge their health sta­tus to their employers.

Depres­sion is the most preva­lent men­tal ill­ness. In fact, the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion has indi­cated that depres­sion is one of the world’s lead­ing causes of dis­abil­ity, with more than 350 mil­lion peo­ple of all ages cur­rently liv­ing with the ill­ness world­wide. For­tu­nately, depres­sion is extremely respon­sive to treatment—usually med­ica­tion, coun­selling or both. Once help is sought, 80% of peo­ple make pos­i­tive improve­ments allow­ing them to return to their reg­u­lar activ­i­ties, accord­ing to the CMHA. Yet many peo­ple do not seek help: they think they will sim­ply “snap out of it” or, because of the stigma, they are too embar­rassed to ask for it.

The longer depres­sion goes untreated, the harder it becomes to treat.

Depres­sion is also strik­ing younger and younger peo­ple: 3.2 mil­lion Cana­di­ans ages 12 to 19 are at risk for devel­op­ing depres­sion, accord­ing to the CMHA. In today’s increas­ingly com­pet­i­tive global econ­omy, Cana­dian busi­nesses can­not afford to lose skilled employ­ees in their prime work­ing years.

What the Num­bers Say

Judith quotes some dis­tress­ing num­bers in her com­men­tary. Specifically:

The 2011 Con­fer­ence Board of Canada study Build­ing Men­tally Healthy Work­places reveals the extent and preva­lence of men­tal health issues in the work­place. Of the more than 1,000 Cana­di­ans sur­veyed, 44% reported that they were cur­rently expe­ri­enc­ing (12%) or had pre­vi­ously expe­ri­enced (32%) a men­tal health issue. (This was based on a broad def­i­n­i­tion that included exces­sive stress, anx­i­ety, depres­sion, burnout, addic­tion and sub­stance abuse, mania, bipo­lar dis­or­der and schiz­o­phre­nia, among others.)

That sur­pris­ing fig­ure is behind esca­lat­ing ben­e­fits costs and dis­abil­ity claims. In the 2011 Con­fer­ence Board study, 78% of short-term dis­abil­ity claims and 67% of long-term dis­abil­ity claims in Canada were related to men­tal health issues. Cana­dian gov­ern­ment fig­ures show that more hos­pi­tal days are used by peo­ple with men­tal ill­nesses than are used by peo­ple with can­cer and heart dis­ease com­bined. A report by the Cana­dian Alliance on Men­tal Ill­ness and Men­tal Health stated that “depres­sion will be the sin­gle most expen­sive cause of lost work­place pro­duc­tiv­ity due to dis­abil­ity by 2020.” That’s just seven years away.

Eras­ing the Stigma

Judith notes “It’s not easy to change deeply entrenched atti­tudes toward men­tal ill­ness, but employ­ers can cer­tainly make inroads with their work­force. Doing so requires a corporate-wide strat­egy involv­ing lead­er­ship, man­age­r­ial skills, work­place cul­ture, and edu­ca­tion and communication.”

Four areas of focus in eras­ing stigma are, all of which need to be reviewed, sus­tained and reg­u­larly refined over time.according to main­tain the effec­tive­ness of ongo­ing men­tal health ini­tia­tives in eras­ing stigma and pro­mot­ing good men­tal health. Judith iden­ti­fies these areas as follows:

Lead­er­ship.

Change begins at the top; there­fore, endorse­ment and sup­port from senior lead­ers is essen­tial. Top man­age­ment must demon­strate lead­er­ship not only in pro­mot­ing good men­tal health but also in sup­port­ing employ­ees who are expe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health chal­lenges. Active endorse­ment and sup­port from unions and other employee asso­ci­a­tions also helps trans­form ideas into action.

Man­age­r­ial skills.

Man­agers are on the front lines of orga­ni­za­tional health and well-being. Not only are they able to iden­tify pro­duc­tiv­ity and behav­ioural issues early, they’re also instru­men­tal in sup­port­ing and accom­mo­dat­ing team mem­bers with phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­nesses and chal­lenges. Man­agers often set the tone for their team and directly influ­ence lev­els of stigma. While some man­agers are well informed about men­tal health issues, they often feel ill-equipped to dis­cuss these issues with employ­ees.  Pro­vid­ing appro­pri­ate and ongo­ing train­ing for man­agers at all lev­els to help them deal with men­tal health issues and under­stand how they can guide employ­ees to the appro­pri­ate resources is one of the most impor­tant ini­tia­tives that an orga­ni­za­tion can under­take. Most employee and fam­ily assis­tance pro­grams (EFAPs) offer this training.

Work­place culture.

Cre­at­ing an orga­ni­za­tional cul­ture that is truly inclu­sive and sup­port­ive of all employ­ees takes time but begins sim­ply by ask­ing a few ques­tions. Is there a company-wide pol­icy in place to pro­mote good men­tal and phys­i­cal health in the work­place? In addi­tion to pre­ven­tive mea­sures, there should be poli­cies and pro­to­cols in place that sup­port an employee with a men­tal ill­ness to return to work or stay at work. The work­place offers many pos­i­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties and resources that can help employ­ees recover or cope bet­ter: a sup­port­ive social net­work, feel­ings of self-worth, and access to EFAPs, return-to-work sup­port and other health and well­ness programs.

Edu­ca­tion and communication.

Edu­ca­tion is per­haps the most pow­er­ful weapon in fight­ing stereo­types or mis­in­for­ma­tion. Employ­ers can increase men­tal health lit­er­acy through work­shops, sem­i­nars, and lunch and learns, as well as through printed and web-based arti­cles and per­sonal sto­ries. Man­agers need to encour­age team mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in edu­ca­tion and train­ing ses­sions and can fur­ther show their com­mit­ment by attend­ing these ses­sions with their direct reports. The company’s EFAP—as well as orga­ni­za­tions such as the CMHA, the Mood Dis­or­ders Soci­ety of Canada and the Cana­dian Health Network—can also pro­vide a wealth of mate­ri­als and support.

The impor­tance of men­tal health benefits

Finally, Judith notes:

In Canada’s health­care sys­tem, indi­vid­u­als who seek care for men­tal health issues typ­i­cally rely on an often-confusing array of providers, and nav­i­gat­ing these providers to find appro­pri­ate care is a chal­lenge. While men­tal ill­ness is an increas­ing cost dri­ver for employ­ers, pro­grams have not kept up with the spi­ralling needs of today’s employees.”

The impor­tance of robust men­tal health ben­e­fits as part of an organization’s over­all approach to health will become increas­ingly impor­tant. Many employ­ees find that get­ting help is just too hard, and some aren’t aware of the resources avail­able to them. Employ­ees need to know the ben­e­fits and ser­vices that their employer offers. This com­mu­ni­ca­tion should be an ongo­ing part of an organization’s over­all men­tal health ben­e­fits strat­egy. EFAPs, psy­cho­log­i­cal and psy­chi­atric con­sul­ta­tions, men­tal health assess­ments, com­plex claims sup­port from men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als, and work­place facil­i­ta­tion and medi­a­tion pro­grams are all ele­ments of a com­pre­hen­sive approach.

Judith Plotkin is vice-president, strate­gic oper­a­tions, with Home­wood Human Solutions.

For a PDF from Ben­e­fits Canada, click here.

Orig­i­nal source arti­cle here.

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How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.

 

Do you have our Healthy Workplaces Kit?

Healthy Workplace KitFor Canada’s Healthy Work­place month, Home­wood Human Solu­tions is sup­port­ing employ­ers by offer­ing a free Healthy Work­place Kit.

The goals of Healthy Work­place Month are to increase aware­ness of a com­pre­hen­sive approach to work­place health in Canada. The weekly themes for this year are:

Week 1: Safe Work­places
Week 2: Healthy Bod­ies
Week 3: Sup­port­ive Work­place Cul­tures
Week 4: Hav­ing Fun at Home and Work

A healthy work­place is mul­ti­di­men­sional. Under­stand­ing the impor­tance of per­sonal health (ade­quate sleep and rec­og­niz­ing stress, for exam­ple), prac­tic­ing fit­ness at work, hav­ing open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and doing things that con­tribute to a pos­i­tive work envi­ron­ment are impor­tant to achiev­ing well­ness and for keep­ing Canada’s work­places healthy.

To obtain your com­pli­men­tary, no strings attached kit (not even an email address required!), click here.

——————————————————————————–

How can we help?

The Healthy Work­places blog is brought to you by Home­wood Human Solu­tions. We are part of Schlegel Health Care, a family-owned health care orga­ni­za­tion with a focus on men­tal health and addic­tions, employee and fam­ily assis­tance, dis­abil­ity man­age­ment, and long-term care for older adults. How can we help?

Home­wood Human Solutions

Nation­wide EFAP and Dis­abil­ity Pro­grams

Home­wood Human Solu­tions™ offers a one-of-a-kind approach to the mar­ket: the high­est qual­ity of clin­i­cal sup­port and inter­ven­tion avail­able within the EFAP indus­try, and an unmatched con­tin­uum of ser­vices — span­ning health pro­mo­tion, men­tal health and addic­tions treat­ment, and prevention-focused work-life coun­selling services.

Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Program

Effec­tive dis­abil­ity man­age­ment for men­tal ill­ness must go beyond “man­ag­ing” dis­abil­ity to include both inpa­tient and out­pa­tient treat­ment. Treat­ment goals must incor­po­rate strate­gies for suc­cess­ful work rein­te­gra­tion to min­i­mize recur­rence and relapse.

The Home­wood Dis­abil­ity Treat­ment Pro­gram (HDTP) com­bines the ser­vices avail­able through the Home­wood Health Cen­tre – a nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment cen­tre with the best national net­work of skilled men­tal health and addic­tion treat­ment pro­fes­sion­als through Home­wood Human Solu­tionsTM.

Home­wood Health Centre

Nation­ally rec­og­nized men­tal health and addic­tion facil­i­ties

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is Canada’s unsur­passed med­ical leader in addic­tion and men­tal health treat­ment, pro­vid­ing highly spe­cial­ized psy­chi­atric ser­vices to all Cana­di­ans. We are a 312-bed, Sched­ule 1 facil­ity under the Ontario Men­tal Health Act. We oper­ate nine pro­grams treat­ing a range of men­tal health and addic­tion issues.

Home­wood Health Cen­tre is located in Guelph, Ontario.

Schlegel Vil­lages

Con­tin­uum of care facil­i­ties for older adults (long-term care and retire­ment homes)

Schlegel Vil­lages are designed, built and man­aged by the Schlegel fam­ily of Kitch­ener, Ontario. Our motto: “It Takes a Vil­lage to Care” lives on.

Cana­dian owned and oper­ated, our Vil­lages ben­e­fit from the Schlegel fam­ily hav­ing over 40 years of direct expe­ri­ence co-owning, man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Long Term Care and Retire­ment Com­mu­ni­ties in Ontario. There are eleven Schlegel Vil­lages hous­ing approx­i­mately 2500 seniors. Each Vil­lage has a Long Term Care com­po­nent, with Full Ser­vice Retire­ment Liv­ing, Assisted Care, Mem­ory Care and Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing options being added in stages. The first Schlegel Vil­lage opened in 1998 in Guelph.

Have you vis­ited our Pin­ter­est site? We have many, many more info­graph­ics to peruse. Have a look here!

We’re on Google Plus!

NOTE: The con­tent and opin­ions offered in Healthy Work­places blog posts do not nec­es­sar­ily reflect the for­mal stance of Home­wood Human Solu­tions, unless oth­er­wise iden­ti­fied. We bring this infor­ma­tion for­ward in the inter­ests of openly shar­ing val­ued infor­ma­tion in this time of fast-growing online con­ver­sa­tions and knowledge.