Health and Safety

Mental Health Week in the Workplace 2024 

May 13, 2024

Mental Health Week 2024 in Canada: Leveraging the Healing Power of Compassion

It’s no secret that Canadians are often regarded as polite people known for their compassion and kindness. According to a Maru Public Opinion survey, 92% of Canadians claimed to be compassionate. Yet only 38% reported taking active steps to alleviate hardship in the past year. As Mental Health Week in Canada emphasizes the healing power of compassion this year, the discrepancy between the public opinion polls results raises the question: are we truly living up to our reputation as a kind and compassionate nation? 

With the culmination of Mental Health Week 2024 approaching, let’s reflect on how we can all harness compassion to make a positive difference in the workplace. 

Mental Health in the Workplace 

Creating a safe and supportive workplace is essential for the health and wellbeing of employees and the Canadian economy. It’s estimated that absenteeism costs the economy $50 billion annually, while employers lose $17 billion on lost productivity. The effect is particularly severe for young workers. In fact, 40% of those between 18 and 24 years old report experiencing burnout and reaching a breaking point. As such, employers can use Mental Health Week to develop and improve programs that foster supportive work environments.

Why support mental health at work? 

The recent surge in anxiety and depression is expected to incur a higher cost for businesses in 2024 and beyond. To combat that, companies that prioritize their employees’ wellbeing tend to employ more engaged, motivated, and productive workers. This often results in higher retention rates, reduced absenteeism, lower employee burnout, and fewer workplace injuries. Although there’s no universal approach to building a psychologically safe work environment, mental health impacts on employees should be a fundamental part of every health and wellness strategy. Mental health support in Canadian workplaces is becoming more commonplace. This is because more employers are seeing the benefits of supporting the mental health needs of their employees. 

Workplace strategies for mental health 

While there has been notable progress in mental health education and awareness over the last few decades, some people still hold negative views toward mental illness. Thankfully, this is changing for the better. More business leaders and HR professionals understand the costs of ignoring the mental wellness of its workers are high in both human and monetary capital. Untreated mental health problems in the workplace can also result in hidden costs. These costs are often related to short- and long-term disability and provisional care services. Leveraging Mental Health Week as an annual occasion to review and revise mental health policies. Launching new wellness projects can help facilitate change and play a large part in reducing the stigma of mental illnesses. 

Workplace mental health strategies for small businesses 

Small and medium-sized businesses often face challenges when addressing mental health issues due to the stigma surrounding the topic. With smaller, local organizations, employees usually work closely with each other and develop more personal connections. Occasionally, this closeness can cause employees to hesitate to discuss their mental health openly with their colleagues or managers. Mental health problems affect as many as 500,000 Canadians every week, causing them to miss work, and it is often an issue that is not talked about openly. Despite this, the close relationships built within smaller businesses can be used to express genuine compassion from colleagues and show a willingness to support workers who need help. Using Mental Health Week to promote awareness is a fantastic way to show employees that the organization cares about total employee health and wellness and is committed to helping its people thrive. 

To help organizations of any size support Mental Health Week in Canada, download our free guide. It reviews four steps that organizations can take to help overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness and promote sound mental health to employees. 

Wellness matters! HRdownloads is here to help 

Providing mental wellness support at the right time can save a life. Our HR experts are there to help you implement an effective health and wellness program that includes mental health support. We offer HR software, HR content, HR support, and hundreds of online training courses. They include training on mental health, coping with stress, and financial wellness. With a flexible and accessible platform devoted to education, you can assign and manage training and document completions at your fingertips.

Book a free demo at a time that fits your schedule. Our HR experts will provide a free, no-obligation quote tailored to your HR needs in as little as one business day. 


Speak up about mental health at your workplace 

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada and costs employers billions of dollars annually from high turnover rates, increased absenteeism and presenteeism, and the lack of mental presence at work. Breaking down the statistics further, one Canadian in five has a major mental health disorder. That’s 6.8 million people nationwide. So, how can small and medium-sized organizations overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness and promote sound mental health among employees? 

Get our free Mental Health First Aid Guide and start speaking up about mental health in your workplace today!