Mental Health at Work

What is mental health and illness?

Having good mental health means generally feeling good and being able to cope with everyday life at home and at work. Positive mental health means finding that balance in all parts of your life: social, physical, spiritual. What do mental health and mental illness mean? What is stigma and how can we fight it? How do we meet different mental health needs for different people? How do social conditions affect mental health?

  1. What are mental health and mental illness?
  2. What are stigma and discrimination?
  3. Different people, different needs
  4. Social conditions and our mental health

Why mental health matters to unions

There are many actions unions can take to support better mental health and improve the lives of people with mental illness.

  1. Why does mental health matter to workers and unions?
  2. Union education programs for leaders, activists, and members
  3. Training and education for staff, officers, and stewards
  4. Support for family or caregivers
  5. Awareness and anti-stigma campaigns
  6. Promote peer support
  7. Expand Labour Community Advocate Training
  8. National Standard and Mental Injury Toolkit training
  9. Bargaining for better benefits and supports

How to get help in the workplace

If you are facing mental health challenges, your union can help you. It can advocate for you and help you find out what options for treatment or time off you have.

  1. Who can you turn to?
  2. Find out your options and benefits
  3. How to find community resources
  4. What happens if you need to take time off work?
  5. You have a right to be accommodated in the workplace
  6. Mental health and privacy

Resources for Local Officers and Stewards

Because of stigma and discrimination, many people don’t want to share personal information about their mental health challenges. Ideally, people who need help will reach out for it. But this doesn’t always happen. You may be able to help by approaching members and advocating with employers for them.

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What you need to know about the National Standard

The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s 2012 report Changing Directions-Changing Lives: the Mental Health Strategy for Canada recommended the wide adoption of psychological health and safety.

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Bargaining and lobbying for change

Canada needs better programs for promoting mental health and for providing services and support for people living with mental illnesses.

  1. Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EAP or EFAP)
  2. Lobbying for better funding and services
  3. Health Benefits and Types of Leave
  4. Peer support organizations
  5. Culturally appropriate services that respect social identity
  6. Specific funding for children and young people
  7. Provincially and territorially funded psychotherapy
  8. More accessible information about mental health and mental health services
  9. Duty to Accommodate and Training Standards

The Mental Injury Toolkit

The Mental Injury Toolkit has been designed by union health and safety representatives from 10 unions and researchers from a variety of centres.

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Work-related PTSD

There is a growing recognition that workplaces can be a direct cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

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Community and Union Resources