Tools for Mental Health Assessment

Spelling out words related to mental health
Lucian Milasan/Shutterstock

It is an emerging fact that one in five Canadians struggles with mental health issues on a daily basis.

This individual struggle has an impact in the workplace. It may show itself through high absenteeism rates, inter-personal conflicts and communication breakdowns. While we have seen an increase in social media campaigns such as the Bell ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative, matters related to mental health are not dealt with well, or at all, in many Canadian workplaces.

Many employers do not know where to start or what tools to use in order to focus on improving employee mental health initiatives.

In response to this need, SunLife Financial, a Canadian insurance and group health benefits provider, has developed a digital mental-health assessment tool for use in Canadian workplaces.

Click here to read the SunLife announcement about their new mental health assessment tool.

Click here to read about how the tool is being implemented in the City of Mississauga.

It is interesting to note that the City of Mississauga launched the tool as part of an organizational mental health strategy. It appears that this strategy includes or follows the steps of hazard recognition (first responders deal with high stress situations every day); risk assessment (implementation of mental health assessment tool); and implementation of controls (training methodologies and supports put into place to reduce mental health risks for workers).

From a health and safety perspective, most workplaces already have an understanding of the steps needed to reduce or eliminate physical workplace hazards. This new type of assessment tool, as provided by SunLife Financial, perhaps will help make the transition a little bit easier to establishing an equal emphasis on reducing and preventing psycho-social hazards that impact employee mental health.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think employers in Canada do not have workplace mental health strategies in place?
  2. How could a mental health assessment tool assist employees in your current workplace?
  3. What types of strategies do you think could be implemented to assist employees who are coping with mental health issues in the workplace?