It is estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience mental health problems in any given year. The remaining 4 will have a friend, family member or colleague who will be challenged with mental health issues. In Canada, There are 500,000 Canadians absent from work every day. Mental Health is the number one cause of disability in Canada, accounting for nearly 30% of disability claims and 70% of total claims. Approximately 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem. The estimated cost to the Canadian economy in terms of health care and lost productivity is $51 billion or $34 billion is the cost to the Ontario economy. According to the World Health Organization, depression will be the single biggest medical burden on health by 2020.
In spite of the numbers affected, there is still a stigma associated to mental health. Only 50% of Canadians would tell friends or coworkers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnoses of cancer.
Employers can assist by training their front line managers to recognize mental health issues and offer solutions for building a mentally healthy workplace culture, such as providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers a large array of tools, information and support. This kind of benefit can educate and arm your managers on how to be more effective in addressing those situations and help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Employers should check their Employee Benefits provider websites as many insurance companies provide online information on their websites, as well as offer materials and webinars available for managers. Should you have difficulty locating resources, contact BIS for assistance.