Conference Board of Canada Publishes Findings on Mental Health Issues in Quebec Workplaces

QUEBEC, Nov. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - The findings from a national survey on mental health issues reveal subtle differences in Quebec workplaces compared to the country as a whole.

The Conference Board of Canada's 2011 survey on mental health found that mental health is a significant national business issue - one that requires the attention of organizations. Although Canadian employers have taken steps to remove stigmas associated with mental health issues, misinformation, fear and prejudice remain far too prevalent in workplaces.

The situation in Quebec is similar to the national picture with some nuanced differences. Quebec workers are somewhat more reticent than workers nationally to share mental health problems with their co-workers.

Forty-one per cent of Quebec respondents said they would be comfortable having a conversation with a co-worker about that worker's mental health, as compared to almost half of respondents nationally. One in five Quebec workers (21 per cent) felt they would be comfortable discussing their own mental health with co-workers, compared to 28 per cent of respondents nationally. Quebec workers said they would be as comfortable discussing a mental health issue with their immediate supervisor as workers nationally.

One area where Quebec workplaces exceed the national average is in holding managers accountable for workplace mental health issues. In Quebec, 57 per cent agreed that managers are held accountable for addressing workplace issues that may negatively impact the mental well-being of employees as compared to 51 per cent nationally.

"Quebec has long been a leader in addressing the issue of psychological harassment in the workplace," said Louise Chénier, a Research Associate at the Conference Board who specializes in workplace health and wellness.  "In 2002, labour standards were amended in Quebec to recognize that employers have a responsibility to create a harassment-free workplace for their employees. At the time, Québec was the only government in North America to recognize this very real problem."

Fewer Quebecers reported having personal experience with a mental health issue. In Quebec, 29 per cent said they had experienced a mental health issue in the past, and seven per cent said they had an issue at present. Nationally, 32 per cent of respondents said they had previous personal experience with a mental health issue and 12 per cent said they were experiencing it at present.

The survey also asked workers and managers whether their organizations had supports in place to deal with mental health or workplace accommodations for employees with both mental and physical disabilities. Forty per cent of Quebec respondents said their organization has accommodations in the workplace for employees with mental and physical disabilities, compared to 48 per cent nationally. And half of Quebec respondents said their organizations offer supportive programs, services, or benefits that address their mental health needs, slightly below the corresponding national result.

The national findings are based on a January 2011 survey of 1,010 individuals currently employed on either a part-time or full-time basis. The research is supplemented with a total of 30 follow-up in-depth interviews. The Quebec results are based on the responses of 233 Quebec managers and employees from the survey. A fact sheet with the Quebec results is available (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/Libraries/PUBLIC_PDFS/FactSheet_MentallyHealthyWrkplcs.sflb).

The results will be discussed in two Conference Board of Canada webinars: (paying subscribers only):

The report, Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces: Perspectives of Canadian Workers and Front-Line Managers (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=4287) provides a national perspective on Canadians' work environment and the degree to which it supports their mental well-being. For this study the definition of a mental health issue was very broad and included: excessive stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, addictions and substance abuse, mania, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, among others.

The report identifies four areas where organizations can take action. They are:

  • Focusing on education and communication to reduce fear, stigma and discrimination in the workplace;
  • Ensuring the organizational culture is conducive to supporting employees' mental health;
  • Encouraging senior executives to show demonstrable leadership around mental health; and
  • Building managers' capacity to support employees by providing the tools and training required in their role.

The study was sponsored by Bell Canada, Manulife Financial, Morneau Shepell, Canada Post Corporation, and TD Bank Group. Additional financial support received from Morneau Shepell made the production of the French report possible. The report is available at www.e-library.ca.


Image with caption: "Conference Board of Canada Publishes Findings on Mental Health Issues in Quebec Workplaces (CNW Group/CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111108_C3665_PHOTO_EN_6251.jpg

SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

For further information:

Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext.  448
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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