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Local Workplaces Encouraged to Review New National Standard to Help Address the Mental Well-Being of Employees 

 

There is a new standard to help employers deal with the mental well-being of their staff, and local workplaces are being encouraged to put the resource to work for them.

The newly-released National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is a valuable preventive tool that both employers and employees can use to address an issue that costs Canadian workplaces $50-billion per year, says Lisa van der Vinne, a Health Promoter with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada pegs the economic costs of mental health problems in Canada at approximately $50-billion per year. It also estimates one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem.

To help support mental well-being at work, van der Vinne is encouraging local workplaces to review the new National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The standard, which was created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Standards Association and Quebec’s standards development body (BNQ), provides tools and resources to help workplaces promote and improve their approach to mental well-being among workers. Canada is the first country in the world to adopt such a national standard.

“This document literally sets the standard for how workplaces can identify hazards, assess their risk and create a culture of mental well-being for their employees,” she notes.

Because mental health problems have a big impact on business, van der Vinnne says it is important for workplaces to think about the mental well-being of workers in the same way that they deal with other occupational health and safety issues.

“Hard hats and steel-toed boots are standard safety attire worn on construction sites. In a doctors’ office or medical centre, gloves and masks are typical protective gear used by health care providers,” van der Vinne notes. “If someone does not wear these types of proper safety equipment at work, there is a major health and safety concern. We need to show the same concern for workers’ mental well-being, since it can also affect their ability and performance on the job.”

The new National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is voluntary and designed to be useful for workplaces of all sizes, depending on their needs. Because people spend most of their waking hours at work, it makes sense for workplaces to be part of the solution given the many benefits they can derive from it as well, van der Vinne adds.

Local workplaces are encouraged to visit the Health Unit’s workplace health portal (www.solutions2workstress.ca) to access the new Standard, as well as resources, videos and links to help them work through the process. For more information, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 256, or emailhealthyworkplaces@hkpr.on.ca .

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For media inquiries, contact:

Lisa van der Vinne, Workplace Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 256, or 1-866-888-4577.

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