More than half (57%) of Canadian employers have not implemented a mental health strategy in their workplaces, according to a new report published by The Conference Board of Canada.

The report, Healthy Brains at Work: Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits and Programs, which is co-sponsored by SCM Health Solutions, surveyed 239 Canadian employers.

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It found that about 30% of respondents cited a lack of knowledge on how to address mental health as a reason for not having implemented a mental health strategy.

Other reasons included: a lack of financial resources, human resources or time (56%); a lack of corporate knowledge on how to address mental health at work (32%); and because it was not a legal or legislative requirement (23%).

Worryingly, almost a third (31%) of respondents said they haven’t implemented a mental health strategy because it’s not an issue in their workplace.

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According to the report, more than half (55%) of respondents who said they have put in place a policy to address mental health at work ensured that it was applied throughout the organization through training in the orientation of new employees.

Nearly half (48%) did so through training for managers and 45% did so through regular communication with employees. Just 15% said they didn’t have a method to ensure the policy was applied throughout the workplace.

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Just over half (56%) of respondents said they believe their organization’s programs and policies allow them to effectively promote and maintain the mental health of employees, and 72% said their organization can effectively support an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue at work.

“We believe it is our job to engage in the exchange of knowledge and ideas surrounding mental health in order to shape the direction of future care,” says Karen Seward, president of SCM Health Solutions.

“We also believe that medical assessment and consultation services can help employees identify and proactively address mental health issues, thereby considerably reducing the risk of a given mental health condition developing in severity.”

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