Mental Health at Work

On March 24, 2015, at 10:01 am CET, flight 9525 took off from the Barcelona Airport runway and was due to arrive at the Dusseldorf airport by 11:39 CET. At 10:40 am the Germanwings plane  was lost from the radar. It was soon confirmed that the aircraft had crashed.  Soon after, the investigators concluded that the crash was deliberate. Three days later, detectives found a doctor's note in the flight's co-pilot apartment.  The note indicated that he was "unfit to work" due to his mental health problems. The Germanwings air disaster is just an example of incidents that employers can and should prevent.

Why should the employers care?

In Canada, more than $33 billion is lost in productivity each year. According to Statistics Canada, 1 in every 4 Canadian worker describes their day as extremely stressful.  Mental illnesses are the cause for 47 percent of all approved disability claims. Some commentators believe that psychological health and safety is a determined right to employees.   Some are calling on governments to use regulatory legislation to enforce "psychologically healthy" workplaces.  Mental Health Commission of Canada has defined the national standard for psychological health and safety.

What can the employers do?

  • Enhance employee awareness on mental health
  • Create a welcoming environment for employees to talk about mental health
  • Support work-life balance and offer flexible working hours
  • Provide stress management training
  • Provide self-care resources like workbooks to the employees
  • Provide early interventions through services like Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EAFP)

What can the employees do?

It is crucial for the employees to care about their mental health themselves. Employees should realize that their mental health is as important as their physical health. Individuals who are diagnosed with a mental health problem should take care of themselves. They should also try to maintain their working performance as much as possible.