Workplace stress is a serious health and safety hazard that can have devastating effects. Workplace causes of workers’ mental distress need to be addressed. Primary prevention addresses the cause or source of the problem. Recognizing and managing workplace psychosocial factors can create a supportive/healthy workplace environment.
MENTAL HEALTH in the WORKPLACE
“So much more than exercising, meditating and going to bed early.”
Burnout is no longer an acceptable outcome for meeting employer expectations.
Use the many resources below to assess and improve the psychosocial climate of your workplace and prevent worker mental injury:
Essential Public Services, Essential Workers’ Health: Union-based Initiatives to Protect the Mental Health of Young Public Transport Workers
In March 2023, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) released a report on “union-based initiatives to protect the mental health of young public transport workers”, along with a briefing paper in nine languages and the announcement of an online train-the-trainers course directed to participants with responsibilities for youth and/or occupational safety and health issues within their unions.
The report shows the experiences during the COVID shutdown of young public transport workers in seven countries (Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Spain, Uganda and the United States), and the impact these experiences had on their emotional and mental health. It also highlights the actions for containment, support and negotiation that their unions implemented, and includes a scoping review of 30 years of scientific literature of relevance to the topic, plus selected case studies for each country.
OHCOW led the Canadian component, focused on B.C. and Ontario, with support from the University of British Columbia (UBC). The research responded to the ITF initiative, in pursuit of one of its key issues (health and safety) and the need to reinforce the unions’ approach, ranging from individual worker experience to the responsibility of governments and employers to ensure safe and healthy working environments.
COVID-19 and the Toll on Workers’ Mental Health
John Oudyk, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist discusses the results of the Public Health Agency of Canada survey, outlining some of the contributing risk factors to individuals mental health, and then ties in the missing link – workplace risk factors.
From the results of OHCOW’s Pandemic Response Surveys, John shows the effect that workplace protective measures have had on workers mental health throughout the pandemic and highlights how the role of meeting workers COVID protection needs can minimize the impact of the pandemic on workers’ mental health and wellbeing.
Preventing Workplace Mental Harm NEW!
Feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from work? You are not alone!
Let’s talk about it and find out what can be done to assess the psychosocial risk factors at your workplace and help reduce workplace mental stress.
This 30 minute video is a great starting point for joint health and safety committees, unions, workplace parties, and individuals who are interested in learning more about preventing workplace mental harm and how using OHCOW’s StressAssess tool can help them in their journey to a more psychologically healthy workplace.
Workplace Mental Health Webinar Series
MAYDAY, MAYDAY is an internationally recognized cry for help, and Mayday itself celebrates the contribution of workers the world over, both of which apply to the critically important subject of Workplace Mental Health, especially as we all strive to cope with the impact of the current global pandemic.
This five week series held annually in May, draws speakers from across Ontario and beyond to highlight and share solutions to Workplace Mental Health, Stress and Injury Prevention with consideration for both the new, and (hopefully soon) restored, “normal”.
MayDay MayDay 2023
Plans for our 2023 event are well underway!
Please plan to join us as we explore ways forward in developing healthier, safer, more inclusive workplaces.
Visit our MAYDAY MAYDAY event page for details.
VIEW PREVIOUS MAYDAY SESSION RESOURCES
(Recordings, slides, etc.)
“… there is a growing movement among researchers and practitioners in occupational health psychology to have a more integrated and comprehensive approach to workplace health. This approach aims to have a balance between prevention of illness at work and promotion of well-being and health by enhancement of strengths, resources and optimal functioning in the workplace.”
A Survey of the Psychosocial Factors in Your Workplace
A free, evidence-based online survey tool designed to assist workplaces in identifying psychosocial hazards
that can lead to stress and mental injury.
Provides suggestions and pathways to address issues, and thus prevent harm.
Simple to Use • Fosters a Team Approach • Includes a Wizard*
* supporting preparation, implementation and subsequent problem solving.
Workplace and Individual Editions Available
Workplace Approaches and Solutions
The following Case Studies provide insight into how organizations are using StressAssess to improve the mental health of their employees and build better workplaces.
Algoma Family Services (AFS)
Workplace Approaches and Solutions – CAMH
Building on Successive Surveys: A Worthwhile Investment – IHSA
A Spark to Action
Introduction to the mini-MIT
including Lucy’s Story
Learn more about Preventing Harm in the
Workplace – A Reference Guide below.
StressAssess Action Templates
The StressAssess survey follow up needs to be planned, transparent and practiced. These MSWord templates*, are based on experiences helping several workplaces run the survey. They are easy to use and will help you plan your survey timeline, summarize your results, organize your recommendations and communicate them all to your staff.
*created by Terri Szymanski of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
The following testimonials were taken for the 2021 MayDay, MayDay webinar entitled
Mental Injury Toolkit/StressAssess Solutions & Case Studies
“We believed that it was imperative to take a collaborative approach to ensure all voices were heard.”
“It was really important that everyone was aware of the progress and changes that had come as a result of their participation in the StressAssess Survey. It was always our intention and hope to administer the survey more than once and with some regularity. Thus, it was crucial that action plans were followed through.”
“John was a great help in explaining the results to us so we accurately communicated them to our staff.”
“We wanted to ensure we were all working together to make (workplace name) the best place to work for both front line staff and management alike.”
“The work continues, but we are in much different place. There are daily challenges that come up – before those daily challenges would have sent us into a tailspin, but now we can come together and have good conversation, come up with collaborative ways to address them because we are on the same team. At the end of the day we all want the same thing – we want our staff and then our patients to be healthy and safe.”
“I remember from the first day we began to where we are today and it’s a huge difference.”
“We have come a very long way, and for me it’s that we have taken those steps in the right direction.”
“Its recognized and acknowledged that it’s not perfect, but you know we are working to get there. That is the goal and that is what we strive for on a daily basis.”
“I can honestly say that there are changes that’s being done and while we are not where we need to be, we’re getting there together, you can only do it together.”
“Whether it be a physical incident, or a psychological incident, or an incident related to racism, to oppression within the workplace, those are all health and safety issues.”
“The pieces of work that we have put into place for staff, are developed by staff to help with that buy in and to ensure that we’re putting in things that are needed and asked for by the staff – not what the management thinks the staff needs. That was a real switch for the organization – Listen to the Staff, gain their feedback and put into place what is needed by the staff.”
“We still have bumps in the road – 100%, but we’re definitely getting much better… we have come a very long way.”
“We thought wouldn’t it be a good time to maybe find out how people are doing psychosocially here at (workplace) so we thought we would do the COPSOQ questionnaire…”
“I’m very grateful for the good work that was done, and that relations between both unions and the employer have changed.”
“This truly is a journey that will continue… Yes, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot together and we all have that faith that we will continue to accomplish more and there is still lot’s of work to be done.”
< Use the dots above to view more testimonials >
MENTAL INJURY TOOLKIT (MIT)
An Introduction and Action Guide Created by Workers for Workers
This 6-part Guide and Resource Toolkit provides workers with a basic understanding and place to start when learning about work-related stress.
It provides definitions, common causes of mental distress, legal frameworks*, possible actions to take, and resources.
* focusing on Ontario
What are Psychosocial Hazards?
How to Organize a Survey
What To Do After the Survey?
WORKING DURING A PANDEMIC
PANDEMIC EXPERIENCE and IMPACT
The following two survey were conducted by OHCOW
during the COVID Pandemic:
Workers’ Experiences During a Pandemic
Healthcare Workers’ Experiences During a Pandemic
While over half of Ontario workers report a good psychological health and safety climate at work, almost half experience offensive behaviours and almost a third are experiencing symptoms of burnout.
In response to a poll administered in 2019:
of Ontario workers rated the psychological health and safety climate at work as “healthy/supportive” or “good” (9% rated it as “poor” or “toxic” – still a lot of workers!).
of Ontario workers experienced one or more offensive behaviours (sexual harassment (12%), threats of violence (16%), physical violence (12%), bullying (29%) and/or discrimination (19%) at least a few times in the past year at work
of Ontario workers responded that they experienced symptoms of burnout “all of the time” or “a large part of the time”.
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
Held Annually on October 10
Is Your Workplace Healthy?
OHCOW offers a variety of services that you or your workplace can utilize
in dealing with work-related injuries or illnesses.
From an information/inquiry service to ergonomic assessments to medical diagnostic services, and education and outreach programs
to group services and research services we are here to help.
We also offer advocate, health professional, self, and joint health and safety representative and committee referrals.
From Our Partners, et al.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Posters & Infographics
Government of Ontario
COPSOQ International Network (Denmark)
People at Work (Australia)
Work Positive (Ireland)
Calling all Urban Transit Workers under the age of 35 to participate in our:
Study on the Mental Health and Well-being of Young Public Transit Workers in Canada
Conducted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and OHCOW
Your input is needed to help inform our research and provide recommendations to unions and workplaces on potential actions they can take to protect the mental health and well-being of young workers.