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Mental Health in a Safety Conscious Workplace

Monday, October 21, 2019 at 11:00 AM PT, 2:00 PM ET, 3:00 PM AT
Recorded in October 2019

Although we've seen plenty of of work on mental health in the workplace, we still see questions about what we mean by 'mental health' and why we care about mental health in a safety conscious workplace.  How are mental health and workplace safety related?  Overall, the research and the practical work on the link between mental health and safety is limited.

It has been estimated that approximately 20% of the Canadian workplace experiences a mental health issue. When we consider stress as a mental health issue (and a potential precursor to more severe outcomes), up to 80% of Canadians report high levels of job stress. We know that mental health and safety are related, and that some of the outcomes of mental health (distraction, depression) lead to safety incidents.

This webinar will provide insights into these relationships, looking at how we define and view mental health at work, and providing practical discussion for organizations, leaders, human resources, and occupational health and safety professionals.

You will learn:

  • About the link among mental health, physical health, and safety
  • About effective workplace practices to (a) support workers, (b) create inclusive and effective workgroups, and (c) develop leaders to support mental health in a safety conscious workplace
  • How to evaluate your own workplace in terms of these practices
  • Create basic guidelines for integrating mental health into your safety practices

Take-home messages 

  • Psychological health is NOT an end state nor an absolute. Everybody is dealing with stuff in their lives
  • In the past, organizations have tended to segregate safety issues/programs from other psychological health issues and programs. It is essential to integrate these perspectives to create healthier and safer workplaces.
  • We don't know a lot about the link between mental health and safety in the workplace, so we currently rely on related works or anecdotal evidence.
  • We can address these issues in a variety of ways, using the EMPOWER model of (a) supporting individual workers (in terms of supports/accommodation and strengthening work groups (and their responses to mental health issues), and developing and supporting leaders to identify mental health issues, safety issues, etc.
  • We need to think about shifting our focus to primary interventions focus instead of a tertiary 'treating the wounded' mentality.
  • Workplace health and safety (including mental health) is a united responsibility of individual, coworkers, supervisors, unions, management, etc.

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Arla Day, PhD

Director, CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety and Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Saint Mary's University, Canada

Dr. Arla Day is a Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary's University, specializing in Occupational Health Psychology.  She is also the Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety​. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and she was a Canada Research Chair for 10 years. Her research focuses on developing and implementing effective organizational and individual initiatives that address leadership, healthy workplaces, workplace respect and civility, employee well-being & well-being, and work-life.


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Last Modified: 1/26/2018 3:58 PM