Employers are implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace primarily because they believe it is “the right thing to do,” according to a study by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

The MHCC conducted a three-year long case study research project for which they tracked the implementation of the Standard within 40 different organizations. The results of the study were released March 16.

Improving mental health at work

The Standard is a set of guidelines on how employers can help improve mental health at work. Developed in Canada, it is the first of its kind in the world.

Ninety-one per cent of organizations said they implemented the Standard because they felt it was the right thing to do. Eighty-four per cent said they wanted to protect the psychological health of employees, and 72 per cent said they hoped increase employee engagement by implementing the standard.

Early intervention programs

The implementation of the Standard meant organizations implemented respectful workplace policies and educational initiatives, provided early intervention through employee and family assistance programs and services addressing mental health, and enhanced mental health awareness among employees.

The MHCC said participating organizations achieved on average 72 per cent compliance with the five elements (commitment and policy, planning, implementation, evaluation and corrective action, management review) in the Standard, which it considers “a remarkable improvement” from 55 per cent compliance at the baseline stage.

A blueprint for successful implementation

"Today, we aren't just saying mental health at work matters," said Michael Wilson, MHCC Board Chair. "We see the results from 40 dedicated organizations from across Canada who rolled up their sleeves and led by example. They have helped put mental health and wellness at the heart of their organizations. Through their efforts a shift is happening on Bay Street and on Main Street. From small, independently owned businesses to the telecommunications giant Bell Canada, we now have a blueprint for successful implementation of the world's first workplace psychological health and safety standard."