Comprises our ability to think, feel and behave in a manner that enables us to perform effectively in both our professional and personal lives, and society. Psychological health problems occur on a spectrum, from mild psychological difficulties on one end to severe psychological disorders on the other. The most common psychological health problems in the workplace are anxiety and depression.
Deals with the risk of injury to psychological well-being that an employee might experience. Psychological safety includes freedom from undue distress, harassment, aggression, or fear of speaking up.
A Psychologically Healthy and Safe Workplace:
A workplace that promotes workers' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to workers' psychological health, including in negligent, reckless or intentional ways. So an organization is psychologically safe to be in if it actively prevents harm to workers' psychological health and promotes workers' psychological well-being.
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- Increase engagement.
- Attract and retain more employees.
- Improve productivity.
- Mitigate risks and reduce liability.
- Manage costs and grow profitability.
- Enhance employer reputation.
Today in Canada, one in five people, approximately seven million Canadians, are living with a mental health problem or illness. Mood and anxiety disorders are the most common, affecting nearly 4 million people. As of 2011, mental health problems and illnesses of working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover. Over the next 30 years, the total cost to the economy will have added up to more than $2.5 trillion.
Workplace factors may increase the likelihood of the occurrence of a mental disorder, make an existing disorder worse, and impede effective treatment and rehabilitation. A supportive work environment can reduce the onset, severity, impact and duration of a mental health disorder.
The law is now emphasizing an employer's duty, and holding them accountable, to protect, promote and accommodate both the physical and psychological health and safety needs of employees.
The Standard is a framework based on continual improvement. It is not a program to implement with a start and end date. The Standard is intended to simply allow an organization to assess its areas of strengths and weaknesses in protecting the mental health of its employees, to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, to implement policies/procedures/programs , to evaluate the impact of The Standard implementation, and to drive continual improvement.
- A voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources focusing on promoting employee psychological health and preventing psychological harm.
- Accredited by the Standard Council of Canada and released in 2013.
- Consider "The Standard" like Occupational Health and Safety Standards, but for psychological issues.
Personal well-being remains the responsibility of the individual. How the workplace impacts them is the responsibility of the organization.
If the workplace is psychologically healthy and safe, most employees who already have mental health issues can cope. If it isn't, and workplace stressors exist like struggling relationships or unmanageable workloads, the workplace can be a breaking point.
This content is brought to you by the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and Guarding Minds at Work. Gilbert, Bilsker, Shain & Samra, 2012. . References also include The National Standard of Psychological Health and Safety and Assembling the Pieces: An Implementation Guide to The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.