Help For Employers
Of all persons with disabilities, those with a serious mental illness face the highest degree of stigmatization in the workplace, and the greatest barriers to employment. Many and varied employment obstacles face adults with psychiatric disabilities, such as gaps in work history, limited employment experience, lack of confidence, fear and anxiety, workplace discrimination and inflexibility, social stigma and the rigidity of existing income support/benefit programs. In this section, you will find resources and information about retaining employees with a mental illness, and hiring people with a psychiatric disability.
If you have hired, or are considering hiring an employee with a mental illness, they may need accommodation to maintain their employment. The aim of this guidebook is to provide employers with information about accommodating people with psychiatric disabilities in the workplace.
This guide is designed for employers concerned about retaining employees with a mental illness, and those actively seeking to hire people with a psychiatric disability. It outlines principles and practical strategies useful to small businesses and corporations, the private sector as well as government services.
This document is organized according to three different target groups: employers, mental health service providers and consumers of mental health services. It is hoped that the strategies suggested will provide steps for each of these groups to take so that, when working together, they will maximize the possibilities for successful employment.
This resource guide developed for the Access to Real Work project of the Canadian Mental Health Association – National office. It includes two sections; the first on Hints on Employment providing guidelines for new employees and what to expect, and the second on Workplace Accommodations. The information comes from career counsellors and the personal experiences of consumers.
Many Canadian organizations know they need to create a mentally healthy workplace and to adopt mentally healthy practices and policies. However, many do not know what constitutes a mentally healthy workplace, how it would function or how to start moving toward creating one. According to Shepell-fgi, 84 percent of organizations have no process in place to address significant changes in employee productivity or behaviours. This guide is not specifically focused on working with individuals experiencing mental illness within the workplace; however, the promotion of mental health within a workplace positively affects those with and without mental illness. Therefore, downstream and reactive workplace topics that focus on mental illness, such as return-to-work and accommodation, will not be discussed in this resource. However, with one in five Canadians experiencing a mental illness, breaking down stigma and discrimination within the workplace is an important part of creating a mentally healthy workplace. Therefore, stigma and discrimination will be addressed. As stigma and discrimination are reduced, employees who have a mental illness are able to receive the support they need. Also, this will ensure that other employees, who do not currently have a mental illness, will know that it’s safe to seek help if ever needed.
Mental Health Works helps organizations to manage their duty to accommodate employees experiencing mental disabilities such as depression or anxiety in the workplace. In many cases, employers are so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, that they say nothing. This can lead to decreased productivity, lower morale, and conflict in the work environment. We help employers respond immediately and appropriately when employees experience mental health problems and effectively manage performance and productivity issues. It is founded on the belief that focusing on solutions around mental health issues in the workplace will benefit employers and employees alike.
Mental Health Works:
- Provides workshops and presentations about mental health in the workplace, particularly the employer’s duty to accommodate and their need to manage the performance of employees with mental illness
- Designs and delivers customized training
- Provides consultation for complex accommodations and return-to-work plans
- Delivers e-learning, information kits and other tools for employers
- Offers free information for employers and employees at www.mentalhealthworks.ca