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- Health Unit is Among 30 Workplaces in Canada Chosen to Be Part of Research Study on Workplace Mental Health -

The local Health Unit is in select company when it comes to addressing mental health issues at work.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is one of 30 workplaces across Canada chosen to take part in a national research project conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). Last fall, workplaces across the country were invited by the MHCC to participate in the research project to document how they are addressing workplace mental health issues. The Mental Health Commission also wants to study how these organizations are implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The Health Unit applied to be part of the research study, and recently learned that it was among the workplaces selected by the MHCC.

“It is a tremendous honour to be among a small group of workplaces in Canada selected for the project,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Having access to the Mental Health Commission’s experts will be valuable and timely as we move forward to implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.”

The voluntary Standard is the first of its kind in the world, providing tools and resources to help workplaces promote and improve their approach to mental well-being among workers. The goal of the Standard is to prevent mental injury, reduce absenteeism, and support healthier workplaces. According to the Mental Health Commission, on any given week, roughly half a million Canadians will miss work due to a mental health problem or illness.

“Workplace mental health is an important public health issue,” Dr. Noseworthy adds. “Given the Health Unit’s mandate to promote healthy living and prevent disease in our community, it makes perfect sense that we also create a supportive work environment that protects and promotes mental health among our own staff members.”

As part of its involvement in the national research study, the Health Unit will have access to MHCC researchers and experts who can offer support in implementing the Standard. The Health Unit can also tap the MHCC’s expertise as it draws up an action plan to address concerns about mental health and work-stress issues raised in a recent survey of its staff.

Local workplaces will also benefit from the Health Unit’s participation in the national research study on mental health, says Lisa van der Vinne, a Workplace Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “By sharing our journey with local workplaces, we can motivate and support them in their own efforts to address mental health issues at work,” she adds.

Area workplaces are encouraged to visit the Health Unit’s workplace health portal to access the Standard, as well as other resources and videos to help them work through the process. Workplaces can find out more about the Standard by attending a ‘Strategies for Success’ workshop in Cobourg on April 9 featuring workplace mental health expert Mary Ann Baynton. For more details, contact the Health Unit by email or phone at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1256.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Lisa van der Vinne, Workplace Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1256.

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