Psychological Health and Safety Virtual Learning Series
The Psychological Health and Safety Virtual Learning Series takes place from October 26-30, 2020 to raise awareness of psychological health and safety in the workplace. Participants will learn practical solutions for lowering the risk of psychological hazards to worker’s mental health.
Psychological hazards are in every workplace in Newfoundland and Labrador. No workplace is immune to the negative effects of these hazards on workers physical and mental health. Psychological hazards are found in the way work is organized and managed, and the quality of relationships in the workplace.
The best way to control risk to workers is to find these hazards and put measures in place to lower the risk of psychological injury to workers.
The latest statistics show us that many individuals, families, workplaces and communities are affected by mental health issues in Canada.
Click here for Psychological Health and Safety resources.
- Preventing Stress and Burnout in the Workplace
Monday, October 26, 10-11:30 a.m
In Canada, 70 per cent of workers report that work impacts their mental health and 78 per cent report that poor mental health is the primary reason for missing work. Workplace stress is a main cause of mental health concerns.
Burnout is described as emotional exhaustion, cynicism and being ineffective and unproductive in the workplace. It can be caused by prolonged negative responses to stressful workplace conditions.
Organizations can find ways to reduce workplace stressors that may contribute to stress and burnout by considering the implementation of a psychological health and safety management system.
- Integrating Psychological Health and Safety into your OHS Program
Tuesday, October 27, 10-11:30 a.m.
Employers can make significant improvement to the culture of the workplace and the mental health of workers by making psychological health and safety a priority.
Integrating psychological health and safety into your OHS program will help prevent and reduce psychological injury to workers and enhance the culture of workplace safety. Even small steps can make a big difference.
- Addressing the 13 Psychosocial Factors
Wednesday, October 28, 10-11:30 a.m.
Workplace hazards exist in all occupations. The ability to adequately recognize, evaluate and control psychological hazards strengthens the workplace culture by preventing or reducing illness and injury and lowering associated costs. Learn about the psychological hazards and how they influence your workplace culture.
- Ask the Experts: Supporting Workers Mental Health
Wednesday, October 28, 2 – 3 p.m.
With more than 500,000 Canadians missing work every week due to mental health challenges, poor mental health not only hurts the individual, it also affects the organization.
Many factors affect workers mental health, which can make it challenging to know the best approach to take. WorkplaceNL will be hosting an ‘Ask the Experts: How to support workers mental health’ discussion panel. This recorded panel discussion will have experts in workplace mental health answer questions previously submitted by workplaces.
- Supporting Mental Health in Uncertain Times
Thursday, October 29, 10-11:30 a.m.
Businesses in the province are slowly beginning to reopen their doors to workers and the public. The uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has created has impacted the way we work, how we manage tasks and how we interact with co-workers, customers or visitors. Anxiety, stress, worry, fear, and uncertainty are normal responses to a disruptive event like a pandemic. Staying informed, taking care of your health, building support networks are key to staying physically and mentally healthy.
- Creating a Respectful Workplace
Friday, October 30, 10-11:30 a.m.
Respect and civility in the workplace is the foundation for a psychologically safe workplace. A respectful workplace values care, consideration, and dignity of others. High levels of turnover, conflict, grievances, and low levels of morale, attendance, and productivity are often associated with workplaces where respect is not a core value. Preventing disrespectful behavior begins with understanding the causes and taking action to create a respectful workplace where workers mental health is protected.
Mindfulness is the practice of becoming self-aware in the present moment; and can be practiced by anyone, in any place, at any time. Being mindful helps us protect our well-being in the workplace. Practicing simple techniques and exercises can improve mental clarity and control anxiety. Over the next 5 days, join us on our Facebook page for Mindful Minutes, to de-stress and re-focus for a better, healthy work day.
Mindful Minute 1 – The Name Game
Have you ever felt overwhelmed during your workday by your spiraling thoughts? It is very common, and something we have all struggled with at one point or another. The Name Game is a simple technique to help you manage your emotions and anxiety in the moment. After, you should feel more present and calm. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stop what you are doing, look around and slowly name:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Mindful Minute 2 – Deep Breathing Exercises
Taking deep breaths through the diaphragm is a simple way to relieve stress, even while working.
- Start by breathing in and out slowly, aim for a cycle to last about 6 seconds.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly.
- Let go of your thoughts. Try not to focus on work, responsibilities, or anything that needs your attention.
- Focus on your breath, feel it enter your body and fill you with life.
- Let your awareness follow your breath as it works work its way up and out of your mouth and its energy dissipates into the world.
Mindful Minute 3 – Gratitude List
When you wake up, or before you go to bed, take a moment to write 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for. Gratitude lists help you focus on what is working for you, and helps ground you when you are having a difficult time. Be specific. Instead of just writing down ‘I am grateful for my job.’ try: ‘I am grateful for the time and resources to finish my job tasks.’
Mindful Minute 4 – The Chime Game
If you have a chime or a bell, ring it once and observe the moment you can’t hear the sound anymore. Focus on the sound, and let the stress of the day melt away. If you don’t have chime, you can use another musical instrument, a sound on your phone, or the internet.
Mindful Minute 5 – Mindful Movement
Go on a walk and pay close attention to everything you see and hear. Take in the world around you. Pay attention to the air, the temperature, the sounds and the smells around you. You will feel a better appreciation for your environment and more calm and at ease when you are done.
Stretch areas of your body that tighten during the day. Hold these stretches for at least 30 seconds at a time and breathe deeply as you hold them. Be mindful of what you are stretching and the feel of oxygen rushing through your system as you do it—it will help you learn to be more mindful of your body.
There are 13 workplace psychosocial factors known to positively impact an employee’s mental health, psychological safety, participation, and productivity. If these factors effectively exist in the workplace, they have the potential to prevent psychological harm.
The 13 factors of psychological health and safety in the workplace are:
- Psychological support: A workplace where co-workers and supervisors are supportive of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns, and respond appropriately as needed.
- Organizational culture: A workplace characterized by trust, honesty and fairness.
- Clear leadership and expectations: A workplace where there is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes.
- Civility and respect: A workplace where employees are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public. Civility and respect are based on showing esteem, care and consideration for others, and acknowledging their dignity.
- Psychological demands: A workplace where the psychological demands of any given job are documented and assessed in conjunction with the physical demands of the job. Psychological demands of the job will allow organizations to determine whether any given activity of the job might be a hazard to the worker’s health and well-being.
- Growth and development: A workplace where employees receive encouragement and support in the development of their interpersonal, emotional and job skills.
- Recognition and reward: A workplace where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.
- Involvement and influence: A workplace where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made.
Workload management: A workplace where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.
Some common indicators that a workplace is not psychologically healthy and safe include:
- Frequent workplace conflict
- Low levels of job satisfaction
- High number of requests for early retirement, transfers, or resignations
- Workplace injuries / illnesses
- Difficulties returning workers back to work (longer durations of absences from work)
- Employees seek help for stress, mental distress or diagnosed psychological illness
- Poor levels of employee engagement
- Quality of work
- Low productivity / frequently missed timelines or sales targets
- Complaints from customers
- Poor outcomes for clients
A psychologically healthy and safe workplace promotes workers’ psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health, including in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website, part of The Great-West Life Center for Mental Health in the Workplace, is a leading source of free, practical tools and resources designed to help Canadian employers with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issue. Includes information to:
- Increase knowledge and awareness of workplace psychological health and safety
- Improve the ability to respond to mental health issues at work
- Turn knowledge into action through practical strategies and tools for employers
All tools and resources are available in English and French to anyone, anywhere, at no cost.
Guarding Minds at Work resources allow employers to effectively assess and address the 13 psychosocial factors known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of individual employees, and the financial bottom line. Guarding Minds at Work is available to all employers – large or small, in the public or private sector - at no cost.
The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Mental Health Commission of Canada collaborated to create the Takeaways Toolkit. The toolkit was informed by the MHCC’s 2018 Case Study Research Project (CSRP) on how 40 workplaces have implemented the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Offering best practices and activities, The Takeaways Toolkit is meant to guide other workplaces to help put the Standard into practice.
The Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is a voluntary standard that specifies requirements for a documented and systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy & safe workplace. Download for free.
Investing in a psychologically healthy workplace is good for business. When you protect workplace mental health, the result is lower total medical costs, increased productivity, lower absenteeism and presenteeism, and decreased disability costs.