Mental Health in the Workplace Stigma
Mental health and mental illness are surrounded by a strong level of stigma that makes people feel that may be judged negatively or discriminated against. In that kind of culture, people don’t feel safe enough to talk with their manager at work, so the problem is often overlooked.
Workplaces can play an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. They can give people the opportunity to feel productive and be a strong contributor to employee well-being. Yet it can also be a stressful environment that contributes to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses. No workplace is immune from these risks and we cannot afford to limit our definition of occupational health and safety to only the physical.
With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, addressing issues of mental health at work is vitally important for all people in Canada. Seventy per cent of Canadian employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace, and 14 per cent don’t think theirs is healthy or safe at all. Such workplaces can take a detrimental personal toll as well as contribute to staggering economic costs.
About 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually. In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.