Mental Health Week: One in five workers suffer from depression

Mental Health Week: One in five workers suffer from depression

Mental Health Week: One in five workers suffer from depression

Have you noticed behavioural changes or unusual reactions from your staff? Would you know what to look for to recognize depression? It might be a vital skill for managers to develop as evidence shows just how widespread the mental illness can be.

A new survey shows almost one in five (22%) Canadian employees suffer from depression, with another 16% having experienced it in the past.

The Ipsos Reid survey for Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace also shows that most managers and supervisors want to help, with 84% saying it’s part of their job to intervene when an employee shows signs of depression. One-third have received training on how to intervene with emotionally distressed employees – a number that has increased from 20% in 2007. The improvement is a sign of increased awareness and availability of resources, but that still leaves more than 60% of managers who don’t know how, or when, to step in and many are looking for training, support and flexibility.

Employers are also seen to be less accommodating of mental-health related issues, compared with physical issues, centre executive director Mike Schwartz said.

"The consensus appears to be that it is easier for workplaces to deal with physical disabilities than with mental health conditions — perhaps because employers may not be aware of available resources to help them do so, or because employees are less likely to self-identify as needing support."

So what can HR do? The first step is to visit the Canadian Mental Health Association, the national government body providing support and information. The association also runs Mental Health Works, which provides free information and resources for employers. Find a local branch and ask about what resources and nearby programs are available.

Key sites:

Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Works
Mental Health First Aid
Suicide prevention crisis centres



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