Workplace mental health – a little strategy can go a long way

Kickstart your organization's wellness journey with Sun Life's toolkit

Workplace mental health – a little strategy can go a long way

This article was provided by Sun Life.

Strategy is important to business outcomes. Growing sales, reaching more people, attracting employees, creating efficiencies – the list is never-ending.

But there’s an area where employers may be struggling, and that’s with developing a strategy to support employee mental health. An estimated one in five Canadians experience a mental illness each year.[1]

Making intentional changes to increase support now can help prevent absences, disability claims and associated costs, including lost productivity, in the future and therefore should be a top priority for organizations.

Strategies act as a roadmap for achieving workplace goals, including the ones you have for maintaining a healthy workforce. The good news is all it takes is a little direction and a commitment to put some simple, proactive supports in place. And the better news is, you don’t have to map it all alone — there are resources to help guide you.

Why mental health in the workplace matters

Supporting and improving employee mental health is an important goal for almost any organization. It’s well known at this point that Canada has a mental health crisis. Mental health continues to be the leading cause of disability among employers of all sizes, with our own Sun Life claims data showing mental health claims now account for 30% of all disability claims and 45% of total claims costs.[2]

But mental health in the workplace extends far beyond disability claims. Many employees struggle with disorders – such as anxiety and depression – while remaining at work. This can impact productivity, workplace morale, and even workplace safety. But there are actions that can help – and it starts with a strategy.

To help you develop one, we’ve created a free online resource, the mental health strategy toolkit. This toolkit was based on our own organizational health consulting best practices. We know which approaches work best because we’ve seen them in action with organizations of every size, in every industry. This toolkit has been instrumental in helping our own teams, people and the organization everyday. 

The toolkit: what you’ll find

The toolkit is a one-stop-shop, and it couldn’t be easier to navigate. It walks you through the stages of building a strategy, from identifying what influences mental health to tips on how to assess your employees’ needs, and also integrates access to Sun Life’s solutions. It includes:

  • Information on what factors influence mental health in the workplace
  • Advice on assessing your organization’s mental health needs, and setting mental health objectives
  • Specific tips on talking to employees about mental health
  • Manager mental health training videos
  • Return to work tips for managers
  • Key metrics for measuring success

Take action on workplace mental health

We’ve talked to organizations of every size across Canada about workplace mental health. Many don’t have specific resources (people or financial) focused on workplace mental health, and this is especially true for small to mid-sized employers.

The mental health strategy toolkit gives everyone, regardless of size or budget, a place to start. The focus on strategy ensures you’re addressing your organization’s unique needs and approaching mental health improvements using best practices. It’s a simplified approach to what can otherwise be a complex process.

When it comes to improving mental health, we know results can take time, but the toolkit kickstarts your journey by introducing actions you can easily implement today and continue to develop over time. As your organization’s post-pandemic “new normal” emerges, there’s no better time to start than now.

Group Benefits are provided by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, a member of the Sun Life group of companies.



Latest stories