#1 White Papers

What comes to mind when you think of mental health issues? Feelings of shame, judgement from others, a sign of weakness or incompetency? Stigma usually arises from a lack of awareness and education. Mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”, according to the World Health Organization. How does mental health affect the workplace? What are the most common mental health issues in the workplace? Signs and symptoms of mental health? How to promote well-being in the workplace?

What are the most common mental health issues in the workplace?

The most common mental health issues in the workplace are depression and anxiety. These issues can be brought on by stress, job burnout, discrimination, bullying, and psychological harassment.

Other risks to mental health include:

• inadequate health and safety policies;
• poor communication and management practices;
• limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
• low levels of support for employees;
• inflexible working hours; and,
• unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

How does mental health affect the workplace?

Workplaces can be stressful environments and no workplace is immune. People who experience mental health issues may doubt their abilities or appear less confident. A person may have a hard time concentrating, learning, or making decisions.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s website : “About 30 per cent of short/long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually. In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover”.

Signs and symptoms of mental health?

The Government of Canada’s website states:
• 1 in 3 Canadians will be affected by a mental health issue during their lifetime
• 1 in 7 Canadians use health services for a mental illness
• Females are 30% more likely than males to use health services for mental illness.

There are many ways to get help. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. You can also seek help from the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-546-4566, Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, and Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 which is available to all Indigenous people across Canada.

The signs and symptoms can be different for each person and can range from mild to severe. Below
are a list of signs and symptoms that you may encounter:
• Feeling sad or down
• Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
• Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
• Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping
• Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
• Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
• Trouble understanding and relating to situations and people
• Problems with alcohol or drug use
• Major changes in eating habits
• Sex drive changes
• Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
• Suicidal thinking

How to promote well-being in the workplace?

Workplaces can play an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. Exercise can also play a huge part in helping with mental health. At Berry Architecture, we have provided internal and external bike racks to encourage employees to ride their bikes to work.

Berry Architecture is committed to the health and safety of all employees and promotes the well-being of employees through our Health and Safety program. The program provides a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy that all employees are trained on.

Workplaces can promote well-being by creating social events, taking lunch time walks, encouraging exercise, supporting employees’ efforts to get help, reducing the stigma, and discussing mental health in the workplace. At Berry Architecture, we have created a social committee that arranges social events throughout the company. We have two offices, in Red Deer and Cranbrook, and we have several employees who permanently work from home. We created a rotation so that all staff members are involved in planning events; these events are hosted online so all employees can attend. We also have a group who enjoy taking walks during the lunch hour year round.


Over the years, I have faced my own issues with mental health, and without the support of my co-workers,
it would have been very difficult. The awareness and recognition that our psychological well-being
is an important part of our own health, productivity, and happiness, as well as the well-being of our
communities is an essential first step. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood
and adolescence through adulthood.
Talk openly about mental health, educate yourself and others, be conscious of language, encourage
equality, show compassion for those with mental illness, empower each other, and be honest.


Thank you Shylia for this White Paper

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