Resolution #5: Develop a mental health accommodation strategy and procedure.

The toll that anxiety and depression can have is real and well documented. Mental illness affects approximately 7.5 million Canadians and costs $50 billion a year.

The benefits of addressing mental health in the workplace are just as real. Organizations that are proactive in promoting a healthy work environment experience increased productivity and job satisfaction, and lower turnover and absenteeism.

Employers who recognize that a mental health concern is prevalent must be prepared to accommodate an employee with a mental health medical condition as they would someone with a physical impairment.

What does this mean? Employers need to understand how a mental health issue may affect an employee’s performance and provide ways to accommodate functional limitations. These include:

  • Engaging the employee in exploring solutions that will enhance their success.
  • Encouraging open communication and ensuring that the employee feels supported.
  • Identifying temporary project work or other duties that are within the employee’s functional abilities.
  • Establishing short- and long-term goals and setting clear expectations of responsibilities.
  • Developing alternative job tasks or routines to assist an employee with limitations to continue to remain in their existing role in the workplace.
  • Setting restrictions to duties that may lessen the negative impact of multi-tasking and deadline pressures.

Does your organization have a mental health accommodation procedure?

Acclaim Ability Management works with employers to address how working conditions and management practices can be structured to accommodate employees experiencing mental health issues. We also help employers comply with the Standard by guiding organizations through the process to develop a proactive mental health strategy and psychological health and safety management system (PHSMS).

Learn more about Acclaim’s PHSS Support Services and find out how we can help you create a healthy workplace. You can also email or call us at 877.867.6064.

Other resources you can consult include the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

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