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Healthy Minds Healthy College

Mental Health in the Workplace

January 11, 2013

Winkler Campus Manager, Keith Doerksen, recently took in a presentation by Louise Bradley, Nurse, Therapist, Researcher, Educator and Administrator President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in her presentation of Mental Health in the Workplace, December 14, 2012. Below is an excerpted summary of some of the key ideas that were presented.

  • 1 in 5 Canadians have a Mental Health Issue – this equates to 7 million people in Canada – which equates to a CRISIS as it impacts every sphere of society
  • The cost per year for Canadians is $51 billion; if nothing is done to address Mental Health needs, the cost to Canadians will skyrocket to $198 billion in 30 years
  • 10-25% of workplaces are “mentally injurious”
  • Mental Health Issues are the leading cause for Short Term and Long Term Disability (including CPPD)
  • On any given day, ½ million Canadians will be off work due to Mental Health Problems
  • Stigma and Discrimination are the major reasons that parents do not seek help for their children who may be experiencing/displaying Mental Health issues
  • Early detection + Early Treatment = Better Success with Treatment Outcomes
  • Stigma and Discrimination are also why adults are reluctant to talk of their own issues with Mental Health or seek treatment. Many choose to go untreated rather than risk being labeled as unreliable, unproductive, and untrustworthy.

Some additional facts on Mental Health.

In 2006, a Standing Senate Committee completed the first-ever national study of mental health, mental illness and addiction. It found an alarming number of challenges facing Canadians with mental health issues. The Committee’s concerns were detailed in its report, Out of the Shadows at Last – Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada. The Committee also reaffirmed the need for a Mental Health Commission to provide an ongoing national focus for mental health issues. The federal government created the MHCC the following year. The MHCC’s mission is to work with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians towards mental health problems and to improve services and support. The goal is to help people who live with mental health problems lead meaningful and productive lives.


In May 2012, the MHCC launched a Mental Health Strategy for Canada – the first of its kind. The priority of this document is Psychological Health and Safety. In mid-January 2013, the Mental Health Commission of Canada will release the first-ever Workplace Safety Standard for Mental Health.  This Standard will be applicable to all workplaces. This tool has the potential to be transformational in helping prevent psychological harm and promote mental health in the workplace.