Because employers control the workplace, they are responsible for protecting employee health and safety, including mental health. This requires managers to take steps to protect employees from preventable risks. Their responsibilities include:
Following good management practices to promote good health and well-being;
Remaining aware of safe work practices;
Recognizing that informing employees is critical to reducing the risk of illness or injury;
Looking and listening for signs of emotional stress or physical discomfort in employees;
Creating a work environment that supports employee well-being and performance, and enabling employees to get help if there are signs of a possible health problem; and
Communicating management's concern and support for their employees' health and well-being.
Performance at work is inextricably linked to physical and psychological well-being (see diagram following).
Mental Health Commission of Canada, Martin Shain, Tracking the Perfect Legal Storm, p. 4, Figure 1.
The Canada Revenue Agency,with contributions from Canadian Heritage, Justice Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the Department of National Defence and the involvement of Health Canada, the House of Commons, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the National Council of Federal Employees with Disabilities, produced Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace: Manager's Guide.
Department of National Defence (DND): Mental Health Training
The Canadian Forces (CF) Primary Leadership Curriculum includes a workshop on the subject of mental health, which has recently been adapted for DND's civilian population as well. The core of the DND/CF program is a mental health continuum model (see images below) that was jointly developed with the United States Marine Corps Department of Psychiatry.
The objectives of the course include:
Understanding the impact of mental health issues on the work environment;
Identifying the barriers that keep people who suffer from mental illness from seeking treatment;
Recognizing the behavioural signs suggesting that someone may be suffering from a mental health issue; and
Applying effective management strategies to support employees suffering from a mental illness.
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