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Study shows more Canadian employees are comfortable talking mental health on the job


International HR company Peninsula says they polled more than 79,000 businesses across Canada, Ireland, Australia and the U.K., and said in the past twelve months, 43 per cent of employers have witnessed employees engaging and talking more about mental health.

There's a discrepancy though, as only 12 per cent of employees say they have spoken with their bosses about it. But Kiljon Shukullari, HR advice manager with Peninsula Canada, says the positive is there's a willingness to have these talks.

"A lot of the conversations that have started is because a lot more individuals are experiencing this," said Shukullari.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a part, said Shukullari. It impacted virtually every aspect of daily life and led to more stress and anxiety.

Then there's the risk of a recession and the financial demands brought on by inflationary pressures and the rising cost of living.

Just as these challenges have been stressful, they may have also helped us talk more openly about mental health.

"We've increased our ability to talk about it because of the pandemic," said Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley, a registered psychologist who focuses on workplace wellness solutions.

In workplaces, stress and anxiety can impact productivity, says Lee-Baggley, but it's not just up to the employee to make positive strides.

Employers need to do their part to create a more positive and healthier workplace environment.

“I would say leaders are not well-equipped with any kind of these skills to help manage their employees," said Dr. Lee-Baggley. "And it's really something that all leaders should have."

If workplaces don't acknowledge or address mental health, there will be inevitable impacts to the success of the business.

"Just pretending it's not a problem is not a solution," said Dr. Lee-Baggley. "Your employees will leave, they will find new jobs, they will take sick time, they will go on disability leave and so it's something that companies need to think about with a lot more intention."

The Peninsula study shows that although there is a more willingness to talk about mental health, only 10 per cent of Canadians polled have utilized employee assistance services.

Peninsula says it is up to the company to better help their employees access the supports that are available to them.

"Educate them about the confidentiality, educate them about it being a support outside of the work environment," said Shukullari. "And it doesn't always have to be about work." Top Stories

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