A Work In Progress: Why Workplace Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Week – Work in Progress

No matter what your job is, there is always work to be done on your mental health or recovery from addiction. To complicate things, this pandemic changed the way we work dramatically overnight—and it has only made matters worse for many people. But there is something we can and should do about it. In honour of Mental Health Week, from May 3-9, 2021, we’re exploring the problem of mental health in the workplace, how it’s been intensified, and what you can do to help yourself and your staff or colleagues.

Whar are Untreated Mental Health Disorders and Addiction Costing Businesses?

Whether we like it or not, most of us have to work. And it’s probably where we spend half of our waking hours at least. Even at the best of times, there can be stress, exhaustion, monotony, and professional and personal conflicts.

All of these can lead to workplace trauma, anxiety, depression, and increased dependency on substances. And this isn’t good for your people or your business.

How prevalent is workplace mental illness—and how is it impacting your organization?

According to a recent report from Deloitte, mental health disorders are impacting more and people every year:

  • 500,000 workers are unable to work due to poor mental health each week
  • On average, mental health issues account for 30 to 40% of short-term disability claims and 30% of long-term disability claims in Canada
  • Claims for mental health diagnoses climb by 0.5 to 1 percent every year

How is it hurting your business?

With more employees missing work, taking leave, or simply quitting their jobs altogether, it can hurt your productivity. Across Canada, poor mental health could cost the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion per year.

And the Pandemic has only made the Situation Worse

For those who are still going to a physical workplace, the pandemic has added a new layer of stress and risk. And for those working remotely, they are battling isolation and loneliness.

But the stigma around mental health is still dissuading employees from telling anyone.

According to a new report from HR services provider Morneau Shepell, 44% of respondents feared their career would suffer if they came forward about a mental health issue. And the number rose to 50% for those in management roles.


Mental health and substance use disorders are serious and often require diagnosis and treatment from a doctor or registered mental health professional. But there are things you can do at work to help.

To help support your employees:

  • Ensure they have the tools they need to work effectively on the job or from home
  • Encourage them to end their day at normal hours and avoid burnout, or to work flexible hours if needed
  • Check in regularly on individual employees and those who are on mental leave
  • Learn how to recognize, approach, and communicate with those who may be struggling
  • Know where to refer them if they need additional resources

To help support your colleagues:

  • Encourage them to model positive behaviour, which includes taking personal time and logging off at appropriate times
  • Make time to connect and create a safe space for sharing thoughts and emotions
  • Let them know that there is no shame in struggling with mental health, even in a leadership role

Want to learn more about what you can do?

Mental Health, Addiction and a Pandemic: Assessing the Impact on Workplaces which took place live on May 6th, 2021.

During this webinar, you will find out more about:

  • Impacts of the pandemic on mental health and addiction
  • Understanding concerning signs and symptoms in the workplace
  • Recognizing mental health and addiction as diagnosable disabilities
  • Treatments available for different levels of symptom severity

And for Mental Health Week this year, we have a handout with 5 simple daily exercises you can do with your employees and colleagues to help with their mental wellbeing in the workplace.

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EHN Canada Can Help

To learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by EHN Canada, enroll yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at one of the numbers below. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.

  • Want to learn more about our programs?