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Morneau Shepell tackles mental health in the workplace with new Mental HealthAdvisory Board

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Mental Health / Canada

Morneau Shepell tackles mental health in the workplace with new Mental HealthAdvisory Board

TORONTO / MONTREAL, March 30 /CNW/ - The rising cost of mental health in the workplace has prompted a leading HR firm to take the unique step of establishing a Mental Health Advisory Board to help advise its clients. Morneau Shepell Ltd. - Canada's largest human resource firm that provides benefit consulting and outsourcing, EAP (Employee Assistance Programs), and workplace health and productivity solutions - has formed an Advisory Board that includes internationally renowned mental health specialists from across Canada.

"The Advisory Board is a broad-based, platform for collaboration," said Karen Seward, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Morneau Shepell. "We are looking to create innovation in employee health.

"We will benefit from the expertise of the Advisory Board members in managing mental health issues in order to find practical solutions for organizations right across the board," said Paula Allen, National Practice Leader, Health Consulting. "In the last 18 months we have seen a real shift in mental health issues as the whole area is becoming de-stigmatized. You can't hide from it anymore."

Allen says the cost of mental health in the workplace has come to the forefront, especially after the recent recession. Members of the Advisory Board are:

  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Brun, professor in the Management Department of the Faculty of Business Administration at Université Laval in Québec City.
  • Dr. Robert Francis, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Medcan Clinic in Toronto.
  • Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorder Association in Toronto.
  • Dr. Larry Myette, occupational medical consultant and clinical assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, at the University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. Joti Samra, research psychologist and adjunct professor with the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.
  • Dr. Martin Shain, Principal and founder, Neighbour at Work Centre® and assistant at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Health Division, University of Toronto.

Last fall, Advisory Board member Dr. Martin Shain prepared a report for the Mental Health Commission of Canada called Tracking the Perfect Storm. The report said that employers are legally bound to maintain a psychologically safe workplace, in addition to a physically safe one. It said that such conditions as depression, anxiety and burnout can sometimes be characterized as mental injury.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that mental illness costs the Canadian economy $51 billion a year in terms of health care service use, lost workdays, and work disruptions. Dr. Shain has estimated that $3 billion to $11 billion could be saved annually in Canada if mental injuries caused by the actions of employers are prevented.

Morneau Shepell

Morneau Shepell is the largest Canadian-based firm offering industry leading benefits and pension consulting, outsourcing, as well as health and productivity solutions. We work with clients to develop innovative solutions that integrate with their business strategies to achieve results.

Through our Benefits and Health Solutions Consulting, Pension Consulting, Health Management, Administration Solutions and Shepell-fgi's Employee Assistance Program, Morneau Shepell helps our clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity and improve their competitive positions by supporting their employees' financial security, health and well-being.

Established in 1962, Morneau Shepell has grown to serve over 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, we have offices in the United States and over 70 locations across Canada. Morneau Shepell Inc. is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

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Jerry Amernic