World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. So, what does this have to do work Occupational Health and Safety?

The first stated purpose of the OHS Act is “the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, psychological and social well-being of workers”. This means we should be including psychological hazards & controls in our health and safety system, and considering mental health in our everyday practices to help maintain the psychological and social well-being of workers. Mental Health is not just the absence of psychological injury or disease, but is “ a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community”. As Employers, we have the duty to not just ensure we’re not harming workers psychologically, but can contribute positively to their overall mental health. When people feel psychologically safe, they are more able to assess and make conscious choices about their physical safety, and they work more effectively on their own and with others which means improvements to safety, productivity, quality and overall enjoyment of being at work.  

Some of this is legislatively required to be addressed directly in our Health & Safety programs (ie: workplace violence & Harassment), but many aspects of mental health are either promoted or harmed in the way we implement and follow-through on all aspects of safety.

On or leading up to October 10, consider taking a moment to ask yourself and your organization some of these questions:

  • Do our workers have access to mental health supports?
  • Are we including positive aspects of mental health in our conversations about safety (ie: promotion of safety for improved quality of life, caring for one another, etc.)?
  • Do we apply the non-compliance process in a way that promotes or deteriorates worker mental health?
  • Do workers feel comfortable bringing up concerns right away?
  • Is the way we assign work or schedule shifts causing excessive stress or making it difficult for workers to get adequate rest?
  • Do workers have access to a comfortable place to eat and rest during work breaks?
  • Do all workers, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, etc feel accepted and respected?

These questions, and others, may help you notice some of the ways your organization is doing well and can continue to promote the mental health and well-being of workers. It may also help you identify areas where you may be able to shift the approach or implement new initiatives. Promoting mental health can be simple, small shifts in the way we approach or talk about things within the organization, and these shifts can have a positive organizational impact that outweighs the effort involved in implementing them.

There are also tools and resources available to help you more formally assess the psychological well-being of your organization – if you would like more information or resources, please contact us.

Some easy to access resources:

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has some excellent information and resources if you would like to learn more about Workplace Mental Health:

Alberta OHS resources:

Wellness Together Canada is a free resource that can provide individualized support, free access to counselling, and direct access to other supports:

If you or someone else is in crisis…

How?When?What type of support?Service
Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest urgent care centre or emergency room24/7If you or someone else is in immediate danger or needs urgent medical supportEmergency Services
Call 780-424-242424/7Adult addiction and mental health crisis interventionAccess 24/7 Adult Intake Services
Call 780-482-HELP (4357)24/7Confidential non-judgmental and short-term crisis intervention, emotional support and resources if you are thinking about suicide, feeling overwhelmed or experiencing abuse, or support for family friends and caregivers of people in crisisCMHA Distress Line
Call 1-833-456-4566 or Text 4564524/7   4PM-Midnight ESTIf you are thinking about suicide or are worried someone you know is thinking about suicide. They will listen with compassion and without judgment, engage with empathy and provide support to create safety when things are overwhelmingTalk suicide Canada
Call 1-855-4HELPAB (443-5722)24/7If you are experiencing abuse or neglect, or if you suspect an adult or child is being abused or neglected – will connect you to resources, supports and referrals – callers can remain anonymous.Alberta Abuse helpline
Call or text 1-800-310-181824/7When faced if family or domestic violence, find supports and financial help for helping you find safety and get set up – including getting help with costs to leaveFamily Violence Info Line

If you need issue or community-specific help…

How?When?What type of support?Service
Call 211 or text INFO to 21124/7Programs and services in your community, including addiction, violence, mental health, legal, financial, and other local resources and referralsAlberta 211
Call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 74174124/7Free, confidential substance use phone counselling services with a Registered Certified CounsellorWellness Together Canada
Call 1-844-70-BRITE (1-844-702-7483)24/7All ages mental health and wellness helpline dedicated to supporting people in Edmonton’s 2SLGBTQIA+ communityBriteline
Call 1-855-242-331024/7Indigenous support line for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples seeking emotional support, crisis intervention, or referrals to community-based servicesHope for Wellness Helpline
Call 1-877-254-334824/7A free resource to provide advice and referrals for individuals seeking drug rehab in CanadaDRS Canada

If you or someone you know needs mental health support or resources…

How?When?What type of support?Service
Call 211 or text INFO to 21124/7Programs and services in your community, including addiction, violence, mental health, legal, financial, and other local resources and referralsAlberta 211
Call 81124/7To speak to a Registered Nurse about health concerns or for an Information & Referral Specialist to help find the service that’s right for youAlberta Health Link 811
Call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 74174124/7Free, confidential phone counselling sessions with a Registered Certified CounsellorWellness Together Canada
Call 1-800-668-6868 or Text CONNECT to 68686824/7For ages 5-29, connect with a professional counsellor for FREE to listen, offer mental health tips, and help you find hopeKids Help Phone
Call 1-888-768-24884pm to Midnight ESTFree and confidential supportive peer conversations with trained Peer Supporters – a great choice if you’re feeling lonely, isolated, anxious, or just need a friendly earPeer Support Warm Line
Visit dropinyeg.ca24/7Access to free drop-In single session in-person counsellingDrop-In Single Session Counselling
World Mental Health Day