The Mental Health at Work® Challenge kicks off its cross-Canada series with the Economic Club of Canada.

Canadian Business Leaders and Mental Health Advocate Margaret Trudeau sign a ground-breaking MOU to take immediate action to address mental illness in the Canadian workplace

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Margaret Trudeau, along with representatives from the Economic Club of Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Excellence Canada, Cookson James Loyalty and Mental Health International, today signed a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to motivate Canadian business leaders to address mental illness in the Canadian workplace. 

The MOU outlines for employers a commitment that will help them protect and improve the psychological health and safety of their employees and to reduce the more than $51-billion annual cost from health care to lost productivity.

A recent global workplace survey conducted by Ipsos Mori, including employees and employers in Canada, highlights the stark reality of mental illness in the Canadian workplace:

  • Of the workers reporting a depression diagnosis, 40% state they did not tell their employer about their problem, which is above the global average of 33% and is the highest rate recorded in the global survey next to the United States (58%)
  • One quarter (24%) of employees diagnosed with depression could not continue to work during their last episode of depression, with an average of more than two months off work (49 lost working days) in that episode. Of note, the global average was 32 lost working days.

Special guest Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark witnessed the signing of the MOU at the Economic Club of Canada luncheon.  

"One in five Canadians will be touched by mental illness or mental health related problems in their lifetime so we know this is a societal issue that affects families," says Patrick Cashman, President and General Manager, Lundbeck Canada. "But it also affects the economy.  In fact, for Canadian companies, mental illness and mental health related problems impact 4% of the working population and equates to $20 billion GDP in lost productivity."

"So many Canadians suffer in silence and feel they cannot come forward for help. It's an affliction that affects people of all ages, education, income levels and cultures across Canada as well as around the world," says Joseph Ricciuti, co-founder of Mental Health International and moderator of today's panel discussion. "Seven out of ten Canadians with depression are in the workforce.  Good health is not possible without good mental health, so it is good business to have employees who are psychologically healthy and safe, and managers who are sensitive to the impact of their decisions on employee mental health."

As a part of a "coordinated assault" to change the face of healthcare in Canada, Mr. Ricciuti was joined for a panel discussion by: Louise Bradley, President & CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada; Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Canada's Let's Talk Campaign; Dr. Roger McIntyre, Head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University Health Network (UHN); Dr. Claire de Oliveira, Independent Scientist/Health Economist at CAMH; Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace; and Karen Jackson, Senior Advisor, Excellence Canada.

As the partners make their way across Canada to meet with business leaders, they will be rewarding executives and their employees for taking action immediately to implement mental health at work standards by participating in the Wellth Management Mental Health at Work® Challenge.  

Using Cookson James Loyalty's BestLifeRewarded® platform, the challenge provides a step-by-step introduction to implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) to businesses. Leaders can rally the challenge with employees as they carry out tasks, use health tracking tools and take part in exercises that aligned with the challenge milestones. "The challenge enables leadership to rally their employees around the effort, which improves engagement and supports sustainable health behaviour change. We are excited about validating the positive impact of the BestLifeRewarded® platform for this challenge," says Suzanne Cookson, co-founder of Cookson James Loyalty Inc., the founder of the wellness incentive platform.

The learning modules that enable the mental health at work standards are provided by program partner Excellence Canada. "Fostering psychological health and safety at work is a shared responsibility between employers and employees," adds Allan Ebedes, President and CEO of Excellence Canada. "This Mental Health at Work® Challenge exemplifies the spirit of cooperation that must engage and involve all stakeholders, from senior leaders to front line staff, in sustainable and measurable improvement."

About the Economic Club of Canada: Since 2003, the Economic Club of Canada has earned a prestigious reputation as this country's podium of record. Uniquely positioned as the only national non-partisan organization capable of staging events across the country, our mission is to bring our members and guests face-to-face with the most influential leaders of our time. Each year more than 100 policy makers and business leaders approach the Economic Club of Canada to make keynote addresses allowing the opportunity for guests to post questions, direct and unfiltered. Membership is open to all who share a passion for great issues of the day. For more information, or to become a member visit: www.economicclub.ca.               

About Mental Health International: is a Canadian-based not for profit organization and successor to the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.  Serving as an independent body to help unify efforts and coordinate the service requirements for organizations seeking assistance with their mental health strategies and application tools. For more information visit: www.mentalhealthinternational.ca

About Excellence Canada: is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to help public and private companies improve organizational performance and recognize excellence within Canadian companies and non-profits. Excellence Canada is the custodian of the Canada Awards for Excellence program that was established by Industry Canada in 1984 to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements of Canada's best-run organizations. Included in Excellence Canada's Intellectual Property are the Mental Health at Work®, Healthy Workplace®, and Excellence, Innovation and Wellness programs and standards. For more information visit: www.excellence.ca.               

About BestLifeRewarded®: Cookson James Loyalty Inc. founded the BestLifeRewarded® wellness incentive platform in 2010 to serve as the catalyst in a coordinated assault to change the face of healthcare in Canada. An evidence-based health behaviour change system with over 90 educational modules, 25+ health tracking tools, pledging systems and reminder tools developed in collaboration with Canada's leading non-profits. For more information visit www.bestliferewarded.com/ECC or email info@bestliferewarded.com          

About Lundbeck: H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN.CO, LUN DC, HLUYY) is a global pharmaceutical company specialized in brain diseases. For more than 50 years, Lundbeck has been at the forefront of research within neuroscience. Key areas of focus are alcohol dependence, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, depression/anxiety, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, stroke and symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH). An estimated 700 million people worldwide are living with brain disease and far too many suffer due to inadequate treatment, discrimination, a reduced number of working days, early retirement and other unnecessary consequences. Every day, Lundbeck strives for improved treatment and a better life for people living with brain disease — we call this Progress in Mind. Read more at www.lundbeck.com/global/about-us/progress-in-mind

Ipsos MoriSurvey Methodology

In 2013/14, Ipsos MORI, a market research company, conducted a global survey on the impact of depression in the workplace. In addition to Canada, the survey involved employees from 7 other key countries: China, U.S., Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and Japan. The global survey was supported by an educational grant from H. Lundbeck A/S., with the Canadian arm in partnership with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada.  A similar survey also ran in Europe in 2012 (including Denmark, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Turkey) and Australia in 2013.

Image with caption: "Front Row: Louise Bradley, President & CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada; Margaret Trudeau; Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Joseph Ricciuti, Co-Founder Mental Health International; Allan Ebedes, President & CEO of Excellence Canada; Patrick Cashman, President & General Manager of Lundbeck Canada; Back Row: Suzanne Cookson, Co-founder of Cookson James Loyalty Inc. and Rhiannon Traill, President & CEO, Economic Club of Canada. (CNW Group/The Economic Club of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140919_C1168_PHOTO_EN_5777.jpg

Image with caption: "Patrick Cashman, President and General Manager of Lundbeck Canada is joined by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Louise Bradley, President & CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada to witness the signing of an MOU calling on employers to improve workplace wellbeing across Canada. (CNW Group/The Economic Club of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140919_C1168_PHOTO_EN_5778.jpg

SOURCE: The Economic Club of Canada

For further information: or photo and interview requests, please contact: Lauren Della Vedova, Communications Coordinator, Economic Club of Canada, 416-306-0899, dellavedova@economicclub.ca; Madeline Long-Duke, Vice President and Employee Engagement Practice Leader, Weber Shandwick, 416-457-9127, mlong-duke@webershandwick.com

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