What is the one key ingredient for a mental health strategy in the workplace? A commitment from the top, answered Louise Malhotra, development manager, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, at the Benefits Alliance Group’s conference in April.
“I challenge you to challenge the leaders in your businesses to make mental health a priority,” said Malhotra.
When you consider that 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs are due to mental illness, a mental health strategy also makes financial sense. “For every dollar invested there is a four dollar return on investment,” said Malhotra.
In February 2020, CAMH released CMAH’S MENTAL HEALTH PLAYBOOK FOR BUSINESS LEADERS. It summarizes research finding, includes case studies of Canadian companies and walks employers through five main recommendations:
- Create a long-term, organization-wide mental health strategy
- Institute mandatory mental health training for leadership
- Develop tailored mental health supports
- Prioritize and optimize your return-to-work process checklist
- Track your progress
One of the employers profiled in the playbook, CAA Club Group, reported that average days lost due to poor mental health declined from 4,148 days per year to 2,944 days within two years of implementing mental health supports as part of a larger wellness strategy.
In August 2020, CAMH followed up with NAVIGATING THE NEW NORMAL: A COVID-19 SUPPLEMENT TO CAMH’S MENTAL HEALTH PLAYBOOK FOR BUSINESS LEADERS. It goes into more detail on certain mental health supports in light of the pandemic, such as a greater focus on inclusivity and coverage for internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT).
CAMH has a team dedicated to working with businesses to implement mental health strategies, and Malhotra emphasized that initiatives can be tailored to meet the needs—and budgets—of all sizes of employer.