The growing concern on the Economical and Operational burdens
experienced by Canadian businesses relating to the lack of a mental health strategy.
Many work environments now offer employees features that improve their physical health. Some opt for a nutritious cafeteria while others incorporate a workout space in to their work environments. The common question is “why do successful businesses spend money on health?”. On the surface, the benefits of such actions may not be visible, but when examining the science behind it the answer becomes quite simple. The majority of Canadians sit for most of the day (especially when at work) often leading to health and wellbeing concerns. The use of a gym facility in turn leads to increased health and wellbeing, and with it comes increased productivity and increasing the businesses bottom line. From this we can tell that Canadian businesses are willing to invest in their employees and that this generates big returns, which all makes sense.
Currently, there is an increased awareness regarding the harms and burdens associated with the presence of mental health concerns in employees, with popular examples such as burnouts, depression, and anxiety costing the business sectors billions annually (Stonebridge, & Sutherland, 2016). In Canada, 4.1 million individuals will experience depression in their lifetime (Knoll, & MacLennan, 2017; Statistic Canada, 2016). The rates of depression alone, not including other common mental health concerns such as anxiety or burnout should indicate a need to improve or implement mental health strategies. As with physical health it is now generally understood that improving the mental health of employees is as essential, and a movement in investing in mental health strategies has been gaining speed in the past few years.
Research on mental health in the workplace has demonstrated that mental health conditions among the working aged Canadians cost employers 20.7 billion dollars annually and the projections indicate that at this rate in 2030 the cost will reach 30 billion dollars (Stonebridge, & Sutherland, 2016). This is very alarming causing employers to continuously work on developing new and more mental health strategies. As of now 39% of employers have a mental health strategy. This reflects a possible lack of corporate knowledge on how to address mental health concerns. The sharing of accurate information on this topic may provide further relief regarding the barriers associated with the development of a mental health strategy for all businesses across the country. The common sectors that have implemented mental health strategies are found in the fields of the health, education, finance, public administration, insurance and real estate sectors, and in the utilities industries.
- Knoll, A. D., & MacLennan, R. N. (2017). Prevalence and correlates of depression in canada: Findings from the canadian community health survey. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 58(2), 116-123.
- Statistic Canada. (2016). Population by sex and age group. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo10a-eng.htm
- Stonebridge, C., & Sutherland, G. (2016). Healthy Brains at Work: Estimating the Impact of Workplace Mental Health Benefits and Programs. Retrieved from http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=8242