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One in three working Canadians suffer or have suffered from a mental health condition such as depression or an anxiety disorder
Employee Assistance Programs / Mental Health / Canada

One in three working Canadians suffer or have suffered from a mental health condition such as depression or an anxiety disorder

Morneau Shepell survey also shows that 25 per cent of employees indicate they have become ill in the last six months due to workplace related stress

TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2015 /CNW/ - One in three (33 per cent of) Canadian employees say they are now suffering or have suffered from a mental health condition such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Another 27 per cent say they are experiencing significant symptoms of stress. This is according to new research announced today by Morneau Shepell.

The new national survey, which polled employees, employers and physicians across Canada, found that the majority (58 per cent) of employees said their productivity has been negatively impacted by stress at work, while nearly half (45 per cent) revealed that they have thought about leaving their job due to workplace stress and its impact on them.  At the same time, almost one third (31 per cent) of employees have taken time off work because of workplace stress and one quarter (25 per cent) indicate they have become ill in the last six months due to workplace related stress.

"Employers are beginning to understand that mental health is not the concern of a few, but an issue that impacts the workplace overall," said Alan Torrie, President and CEO, Morneau Shepell. "There has been tremendous progress in the past few years in many workplaces. But there is still much to be done in our society and long way to go to make all workplaces more psychologically healthy and to encourage people to reach out for the help they need."

A psychologically healthy workplace is a productive one

According to the survey, employees believe overwhelmingly that a psychologically healthy workplace is a productive one, with 90 per cent of employees indicating that managing employee mental wellness is important for employee productivity.  Furthermore, the vast majority (83 per cent) believe that stress itself is not universally negative, asserting that workplace stress can be positive or negative depending on how the workplace supports and responds to the employee.  Yet despite growing awareness about the importance of workplace mental health, only 56 per cent of employees believe their organization supports mental wellness on the job.  

"The survey revealed some disconnects between employer and employee perceptions on how mental wellness is being handled in the workplace. Employers generally believe they are doing a better job at addressing psychological health in the workplace than their employees believe they are," said Paula Allen, Vice President, Research and Integrative Solutions, Morneau Shepell. "Our research also shows that employees recognize the business value in a mentally healthy workplace. Workplace support is perceived as critical to how stress is viewed by employees, and its impact on them. This also impacts productivity, and ultimately, can influence the success of an organization."

Stigma remains a barrier to progress

Despite increasing workplace support, the new research shows that stigma remains a challenge. A strong majority (71 per cent) of employees expressed concern about workplace stigma around mental health, 65 per cent of employees indicated self-stigma and more than half (53 per cent) indicated concerns of stigma from their physician. 

Interestingly, the survey found that in many instances employees are actually tougher on individuals with mental illness than their employers, and some significantly negative attitudes toward mental illness remain prevalent.  In fact, one in five employees (19 per cent) believes that whether someone becomes mentally ill is fully within their control (compared to 12 per cent of employers). 

Almost every physician believes workplaces must do more to support mental health

When polled, almost every physician respondent (99 per cent) indicated that work issues have a role in the mental health issues they see on a regular basis.  Similarly, 98 per cent of physicians indicated they believe the workplace has a role in worsening health.

When asked what employers could do to foster psychologically healthy workplaces, the number one recommendation among physicians was for better workplace communication and social support, with the second highest being the availability of counselling and guidance.  Interestingly, physicians said these two factors are more important for their patients than reduced workload or time off work.

About the Survey

The purpose of the survey by Morneau Shepell, conducted in November and December of 2014, was to provide insights into workplace mental health from several key perspectives.  The Company is presenting the initial survey findings at Employers Connect, its 4th annual summit on workplace mental health being held in five cities across Canada on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. The findings of the complete study will be published in the spring.

Media Invitation: Employers Connect, January 28, 2015

Media are invited to attend to be among the first to learn more about the new research findings, which are being presented at Employers Connect sessions in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. For more information and to RSVP please contact Ray McIlroy at ray.mcilroy@kaiserlachance.com or 647-725-2520 ext. 215.  

To join the conversation online, tweet us @Morneau_Shepell #EmployersConnect #MentalHealth

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 retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. 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 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,500 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 Inc.

For further information: Ray McIlroy, Kaiser Lachance Communications, 647.725.2520 ext. 215, ray.mcilroy@kaiserlachance.com; Nathan Gibson, Morneau Shepell, 416-390-2641, ngibson@morneaushepell.com