Workplace mental health priorities report 2015

Employers increasingly understand the value of engagement and retention, and also understand the risk and cost of absence, presenteeism (being at work and not fully productive) and disability. Many, however, may not fully appreciate how profoundly workplace mental health impacts each of these issues. In addition, there is often a challenge of defining the priority areas of focus to support workplace mental health, and even of understanding what a mentally healthy workplace looks like.

1 in 3 Canadians are now suffering or have suffered, from a mental health condition.

Morneau Shepell’s national mental health survey

A 2014 national survey by Morneau Shepell tells a compelling story about the current state of mental health in Canadian workplaces. The purpose of the study was to provide data to employers regarding the current priority issues in workplace mental health, from the perspective of employees, physicians and other employers.

This new research validates the importance and impact of psychological health and safety in the workplace, and emphasizes the need for more focused efforts on specific areas of stigma.


Key findings on workplace mental health

  • 33% of working Canadians are now suffering or have suffered from a mental health condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder.
  • 27% of employees surveyed report experiencing significant symptoms of stress.
  • Employees overwhelmingly believe that workplace support can mitigate the impact of negative stressors.
  • 90% of employees believe that a mentally healthy workplace is a productive one.
  • 99% of physicians surveyed indicate that work issues have a role in the mental health issues they see on a regular basis.

Key findings on stigma related to mental health

  • Despite increasing efforts to provide workplace support for mental health issues, the research shows that stigma remains a challenge.
  • The types of stigma that are evident are those that can most significantly impact whether or not someone seeks care, remains at work, or returns to work following an illness-related absence. They include co-worker stigma, perceptions of stigma in the physician community and self-stigma (negative views of one’s self given a mental health condition).
  • The employee respondents also showed a more negative view of individuals with mental illness when compared to the employer respondents.

A key finding of the survey indicates that employees firmly believe that several business objectives are directly related to whether the workplace is mentally healthy.


For more information on the survey, please contact: research@morneaushepell.com

To find out what you can do today to address your workplace mental health priorities, contact us.

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