The majority (75 per cent) of Canadians believe it’s a priority for their employers to address mental-health problems in the workplace, according to a new survey by software company Capterra.
However, among Canadian small- and medium-sized employers, only 39 per cent said they offer mental-health services to their employees, such as flexible scheduling and wellness activities. Indeed, 81 per cent of employee respondents cited flexible work hours as the most valuable mental-health resource provided by employers. And those who had access to workplace mental-health support were more inclined to report good mental health, with 93 per cent of this group saying they feel satisfied with what they’re being offered.
The survey also found 30 per cent of employee respondents reported feeling uncomfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace and only 18 per cent said they’ve spoken to their boss about mental-health issues. Despite the low incidence of these discussions, 29 per cent of respondents said they’d choose their manager as a first point of contact if they felt their mental health was declining.
Contrastingly, an equal number would seek tools outside of the workplace, demonstrating the varied approaches employees prefer to take regarding their mental health. The next most favoured points of contact at work for respondents were co-workers (26 per cent), human resources practitioners (seven per cent) and employee assistance programs (six per cent).
“Canadians have varied comfort levels when it comes to discussing their mental health, so both in-person and virtual channels should be made available for employees to express mental-health concerns,” said Tessa Anaya, a content analyst at Capterra, in a press release. “Their preferences also vary when it comes to supportive resources such as wellness rebates or schedule flexibility.
“However, as the most satisfied respondents are the minority of those who were offered at least one mental-health resource at work, it seems more important to offer some kind of company-provided support rather than leave employees to find their own external resources.”