Supporting Workplace Mental Health

The toll of the pandemic on the mental health of Canadians is increasingly alarming. A new study from the Canadian Mental Health Association and the University of British Columbia shows 40% of those surveyed said that their mental health had deteriorated since the COVID-19 outbreak began, a figure that rose to 61% among those with a pre-existing mental-health issue.

In the hard-hit tourism sector, employers are facing the stress of both managing their own mental health and that of their staff amidst increasing restrictions, financial struggles, and uncertainty around when and how the welcome news of a vaccine will affect the reopening of the travel economy…and whether their business can stay afloat until then.

As stated by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, while managers are not—and should not be expected to be—medical experts, they need to be comfortable having discussions about mental health and recognize they will often be the first port of call when a colleague wants to raise an issue.

The Institute recommends employers:

  • Support and guide their managers so that they feel equipped to have sensitive and supportive discussions with staff
  • Remind managers about the importance of communicating regularly with their team and asking how they are.
  • Encourage staff to practise self-care such as a healthy routine for diet, sleep, and relaxation
  • Promote their existing health and well-being benefits and support, for example signposting people to their counselling helpline.

Here we offer some resources to help managers and HR teams with supporting their staff through the COVID crisis—and beyond.

Randstad details actions employers can take to make mental health a priority in the workplace:

Human Resources Director discusses ways in which HR can help relieve employee stress:

Harvard Business Review looks at leadership when the leaders themselves are drained:

Ottawa Public Health makes recommendations to support mental health for a variety of workplaces:

CEO Health & Safety Leadership Network shares a range of resources for employers, ranging from leadership behaviours to handling compassion fatigue and burnout:

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services offers downloadable PDFs around mental health:

Make It Our Business provides guidance on how employers can help support staff subjected to domestic violence: