New Standards for Workplace Mental Health

Are you employed? Ever been bullied, harassed, or felt psychologically unsafe at your work due to work overload, poor work / life balance, unclear expectations and instructions?

I imagine you scored a perfect 2 out of 2 on that little quiz. Sadly, too many employees (and employers for that matter) have experienced the consequences of working in a psychologically unsafe and unhealthy environment.

In a recent poll, conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association, most respondents stated they had experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace. Most of us think of bullying as overt and forget the more subtle and covert forms it can take. Exclusion by a group of coworkers, constantly having a coworker point out your excellent work ethic in an attempt to make you feel guilty for working hard, etc.

On Wednesday of this week, the Mental Health Commission of Canada in conjunction with the Canadian Standards Association and BNQ, released the National Standard of Canada – Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The Standard basically provides employers with an outline and necessary resources to initiate the development and implementation of a workplace mental health program. I had the privilege of chatting about the Standard and the importance of employee mental health on CTV News.

Things aren’t going to change overnight. We need to be patient with our employers. We need to help employers with the process. If we want our employers to take action, we too must take action. It is unfair to place sole responsibility in the hands of our employer. Remember, they are human too. Humans who need support, guidance, compassion, patience, and love. I understand that all employers are not created equally and thus, finding compassion for a manager, supervisor or employer who treats you unfairly is a big ask. I encourage you to take another perspective. Perhaps they’re not just a meany out to get you. Perhaps they’re dealing with issues, perhaps even mental health issues, that you’re completely unaware of.

I encourage you to download the Standard from the Mental Health Commission’s site. Read it. Share it. Come up with some ideas on how to go about implementing it. Call in support – the Canadian Mental Health Association is here to help.



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