New online tool helps employers respond to new mental health standard

Mental Health Pulse Check compares organizations to their competitors

TORONTO, May 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Morneau Shepell has released a new online tool designed to help organizations respond to the new national standard for workplace mental health.  The Morneau Shepell Mental Health Pulse Check involves a brief online questionnaire for employers.  Results provide a high-level look that allows an organization to gauge its workplace mental health readiness against their industry average.

"Workplace mental health is now a top-of-mind issue," says Paula Allen, Vice President, Research and Integrative Solutions at Morneau Shepell.  "What has been lacking is a simple and immediate way for companies to measure the state of their workplace mental health against their competitors, before having to commit to an investment."

The new National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was launched on January 16, 2013 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in collaboration with the CSA Group and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec.  The Standard provides systematic guidelines that help employers develop psychologically safe and healthy work environments.  The Standard, while voluntary, is expected to serve as a reference for what is expected from employers in supporting mental health.

Morneau Shepell's new Mental Health Pulse Check makes it possible for an organization to instantly obtain a measurable, pragmatic view of its mental health.  By identifying areas of concern, employers can use this information to assess mental health performance relative to their peers, and decide if they need guidance and support.

"Taking action on this issue is about understanding the best way to support your employees and their mental health," says Marilynne Madigan, Managing Partner, Ontario Benefits Consulting at Morneau Shepell.   "An effective response would include such things as leadership awareness sessions, manager training, and a needs assessment for your organization.  In any industry, competitive advantage comes through having a strategy and plan that deliver short- and long-term objectives."

Madigan says that many of the costs associated with workplace mental health are hidden, but the impact is felt in employee turnover, absence, disability claims, and legal proceedings.  She also said 80 per cent of employees who are treated for a mental health issue report higher levels of work effectiveness and satisfaction, and that embracing psychological health and safety policies and programs can cut costs by 15 to 33 per cent and support employee engagement.

Says Madigan:  "Assessing your company's situation and taking action can pay dividends in the form of higher employee engagement, mitigation of risk and operational efficiency, all of which contribute to improving ROI."

According to data from the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Statistics Canada, the average cost of mental health is almost $1,500 per person per year. This is often reflected in terms of absenteeism, short-term and long-term disability, productivity, etc.  For an organization with 1,000 employees, that translates to a cost of about $1.5 million per year.

Employers can learn about the Standard, and other resources for workplace mental health, by using the following:

About Morneau Shepell Inc.
Morneau Shepell is the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services. The Company is the leading provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, as well as the largest administrator of pension and benefits plans. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.


SOURCE: Morneau Shepell Ltd.

For further information:

Cathren Ronberg
416.355.5632
cronberg@morneaushepell.com

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