Workplace Mental Health page

Workplaces are composed of many different employees. You may work at jobsites, helping to construct a building or installing transmission cables, for example. Perhaps you work directly with customers. You might sit at a desk, organizing logistics and connecting with suppliers, or maybe you spend your time in boardrooms, negotiating your company’s next big projects.

No matter your official job description, you also have another role: coworker.

At times, your role as a coworker will require you to engage, collaborate with, and support your colleagues. The so-called “soft skills” needed for this work are especially critical when it comes to dealing with mental health and addiction concerns, violence, harassment, racism and other potential workplace issues. Learning and nurturing these soft skills can be hard. But they are hugely important to creating a psychologically healthy workplace.

This toolkit will provide you with knowledge and advice to help you support your coworkers, regardless of your role within your company. Whether you are a tradesperson, customer service agent, supervisor, manager, union or human resources representative, vice president, or even a board member, it can be incredibly valuable to have the soft skills to effectively navigate workplace mental health issues. You never know when you might need them.

You can also check out IHSA’s other mental health toolkits for employers and workers.

Acknowledgement: Much of the information and resources found within this toolkit are sourced from Canada Life’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.


Help, don’t harm

Tools and resources to help you support coworkers who may be struggling with mental health or addiction issues. Use the knowledge provided in this section to build your skills and confidence to “do no harm” when helping.

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Support the person, but deal with the workplace situation

It is important to support individual workers in need, but equally necessary to support a safe and healthy work environment for all. Supervisors must have a safety-first focus and address issues that may arise due to declining mental health and/or addiction concerns among workers. This can be complex work, but there are tools and resources available to support you.

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The practical stuff

Improve your ability to support coworkers by becoming more aware of your own biases surrounding mental health and addiction issues. By learning how to be more emotionally intelligent, you can help build a healthier workplace for all.

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Referring someone to supports

Part being a supporter is knowing when your own ability to help is not enough. This section discusses several support options that may be available through your workplace (or that your workplace may wish to consider implementing). Those who are struggling may also benefit from resources and treatment programs available in the broader community.

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