Mental health in the workplace: a toolkit to help managers
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Mental health in the workplace: a toolkit to help managers

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on mental health issues in the workplace.
This situation puts increased pressure on managers, who do not necessarily have adequate training to deal with it. Solution: an informative and practical toolkit prepared by the Order of Approved Human Resources Advisors (CRHA), with the financial participation of the Government of Quebec. Let’s see what’s inside.

The figures speak for themselves: a study carried out by Laval University in 2022 reveals that 55% of people who work for an SME in Canada live with a mental health problem. Another research, conducted by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) and co-signed by Dr. Michel Vézina, demonstrates that more than a quarter of employed people (28%) present a high degree of psychological distress. “In 60% of cases, it is related, in whole or in part, to their work. A proportion which could have increased since these figures were compiled before the pandemic,” affirms the specialist in psychological health at work from the INSPQ.

Faced with this alarming situation – we are talking about a crisis here – managers are on the front lines to measure the extent of the phenomenon. When they work in an organization that does not have a human resources department, they are often poorly or poorly equipped to detect distress signals, initiate discussions and implement action plans. A survey conducted jointly by telemedicine company Dialogue and Environics Research in 2023 reports that 70% of human resources leaders believe that managers have not received adequate training to support their teams with mental health.

A program anchored in concrete
How to deal with unusual behavior, mood swings, a high rate of absenteeism or relational conflicts with colleagues, superiors and clients? How can we evaluate how we feel about these demonstrations? How to implement effective prevention measures? The Ordre des CRHA tool kit answers a host of pressing questions to support managers, who can consult it independently according to their needs.

In total, eleven themes are covered, which are available in the form of downloadable documents and videos. In practical and user-friendly mode, it offers reflections, case studies, recommendations on the attitudes to adopt, advice on pitfalls to avoid as well as evaluation and self-assessment sheets.

This kit has been prepared with keen eye by a team of specialists. The reference documents were designed and written by Ghislaine Labelle, M. Ps., CRHA, Distinction Fellow and accredited mediator of Groupe SCO. As an expert and practitioner, Ms. Labelle addresses managers, in accessible language, in informative videos.

We’re talking about the mental health of managers!
To take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. In carrying out their duties, managers must preserve their mental well-being in order to be in full possession of their means and to control their stress level. “I have met many managers who are convinced that everything must be achieved at all costs, who attempt the impossible, who burn the candle at both ends,” comments Ms. Labelle. Their overreactivity puts their psychological and physical health at risk. »

Another observation by the psychologist is that these managers are not sending the right message to their subordinates, because their actions are not compatible with a healthy work environment. His watchword: kindness, an essential skill in the current socio-economic context. However, it is much easier to be kind to others than to yourself! Among the avenues to follow, Ms. Labelle recommends setting your limits, learning to say no, managing your priorities well and not trying to take on all the challenges. She also reminds us that changing your attitudes means changing your habits. For example, reserve free slots in your schedule for unforeseen events or emergencies, plan downtime in the middle of the day to recharge your batteries or preserve your concentration by planning specific periods to respond to questions and requests from colleagues. It’s not more complicated than that!

Prevention, a priority for managers
When the well-being of workers is in the focus, acting rather than reacting can pay off. However, despite the human and financial costs linked to mental health problems, many organizations have still not invested in prevention. However, it is relatively simple to put in place both individual and organizational mechanisms without the need for a significant investment.

Among the strategies proposed, managers are recommended to focus on communication by initiating frank discussions about mental health, by being a good listener, by regularly addressing the subject in meetings and by offering information workshops or activities. special.

The work environment directly influences, in a positive or negative way, the well-being of staff. That said, as Camille Lin, CRHA and consultant specializing in mental health at work at Groupe-conseil Perrier, explains, managers are not always aware of the mental health risks posed by the way their organization operates. We think, among other things, of excessive workloads, lack of recognition or discrimination. “If someone is struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety, and the work environment is poor, it risks exacerbating the situation,” she points out.

In this regard, managers can implement well-being measures by paying attention to roles and responsibilities, offering flexible schedules, promoting work-family balance and giving the “right to disconnect”. It is also recommended to activate preventive measures such as identifying and reducing risk factors, as well as establishing a monitoring system.

Camille Lin suggests regularly taking the pulse of the teams. This can take the form of individual meetings for the simple purpose of getting news, or informal meetings around coffee. The important thing is to establish a constant dialogue.

Identify problems and support people at risk
Prevention is not enough to cover all eventualities. When an employed person experiences mental health problems, whether personal or professional, the manager must take action. Where to start and what role should you play? “As soon as a person’s behavior changes, it should alert us,” explains Camille Lin. It is not a question here of replacing a psychologist, but rather of adopting a caring approach. The role of managers is to detect when things are not going well, to create a climate of trust and to direct the person to the appropriate resources. » Ms. Lin also advises always having on hand a list of contacts to give to the person in difficulty, which includes information relating to emergency resources, assistance services for employees or listening lines.

Cutting-edge tools to support managers
You don’t need extensive training to learn how to prevent, detect and manage mental health problems. What matters above all is to become aware of the phenomenon, to approach the questions with kindness and to obtain continuous information from recognized sources.

The Ordre des CRHA kit, created expressly to support managers, is a real reference. It includes topics such as how to initiate difficult conversations and manage the resistant reactions of a person in distress, describes how to provide feedback to a person with a health concern, and discusses managing the effects of mental problems on colleagues. Without forgetting the reception of an employee after an absence caused by a psychological disability.

“The tools put forward were designed specifically for managers who work in organizations where there is no HR specialist. They are pragmatic, friendly and aimed at any manager who cares about the well-being of their staff and the vitality of their company,” concludes the general director of the Order, Manon Poirier, CRHA.

The kit from the Order of Certified Human Resources Advisors

Bringing together 12,000 approved professionals, the Order of Approved Human Resources Advisors is the reference in HR management practices. It ensures the protection of the public and contributes to the advancement of CRHAs | SCREAMED. Through his public interventions, he exercises a major influential role in the world of work in Quebec. The Order thus actively participates in maintaining the balance between the success of organizations and the well-being of the workforce.

This content was produced by the Special Publications team at Duty in collaboration with the advertiser. The editorial team of Duty had no role in the production of this content.

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