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Tuesday,  June 18, 2024 9:57 PM 

Need to know: mental health in the workplace


Need to know: mental health in the workplace

Today marks the 2015 edition of Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk campaign, giving Canadians the chance to talk about mental health in an open manner with friends, family and co-workers.

Since 2010, the campaign has worked toward ending the stigma around mental health issues to open the discussion and to that end, the 2015 Let’s Talk campaign is focusing on these five points:

- Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness

- Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs

- Be kind – small acts of kindness say a lot

- Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen

- Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence

With mental health becoming a bigger priority for employers, Bell offers the following information courtesy of Aimee Israel and Michael Held of Lifespeak.com for employers looking to start the conversation in the workplace:

- Don’t sit back and wait for problems to come to you. Examine culture, norms, policies and expectations to find out what you can change to create an environment that’s conducive to promoting mental health.

- Mental health is an issue that is often overlooked by employers but it is a very real concern, as a growing number of employees find themselves overwhelmed by the pressures of their jobs, families and finances. In fact, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for people between the ages of 15 to 44. Studies have also shown definitively that mental health disorders – including depression, anxiety, burnout, substance abuse - cost Canadian companies billions of dollars annually.

- Be sure that any wellness program can be extended to all employees within your organization, regardless of location or work hours. With advancements in technology, resources such as an on-demand video training modules can provide employees and their family members with 24/7 access to expertise whenever and wherever they need it whether they are at work, at home or on the go on their mobile device.

- Provide employees with credible sources of information on mental health topics. Easy-to-understand guidance can go long ways towards helping people cope. Sometimes even a five-minute audio or video segment can be enough to help employees.

- Mental health is not just about diagnosed illnesses. It can also be about many factors that improve a person’s well being. Nutrition, fitness, and good sleep habits for example can play a key role in mental health and happiness.

- Personal finances, work-life balance, parenting and elder care are all things employees need to cope with in their daily lives. When developing a wellness program, be sure to look at what resources you can offer to help them meet their personal as well as workplace challenges.

- An employer can play an important role in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. There are plenty of educational resources available to help employers foster a more supportive and collaborative workplace.

- Make sure management is actively involved with your mental health messaging. Let employees know you recognize and understand the challenges they face, and that your management is there to support them. Where relevant, share personal experiences within an organization. Be sure to train all levels of management on mental health matters.

- Foster an environment where people are comfortable discussing wellness concerns; and listen to their feedback on the programs you’ve introduced. Their input is invaluable in ensuring that the supports you provide are effective.

- Workplace issues can shift from year to year. Make sure that any programs you develop are revisited at least annually so the content stays relevant.

In addition, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs. In 2014, $5,472,585.90 was raised in this manner.

More information and resources are available at letstalk.bell.ca.

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