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While almost two-thirds (67%) of employees agree their leader effectively supports their mental health, there are still some key areas where they feel their leaders are lacking, according to a new survey commissioned by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health complements of Canada Life Assurance Co. and conducted by Mental Health Research Canada.

The survey, which is being released to coincide with Mental Health Week, asked employees to rate the extent to which their leaders engaged in strategies to support psychological health and safety. It included a series of statements about how well employees feel their leaders manage in a psychologically safe way.

Only a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents indicated their leader supports and encourages work-life balance and just 27 per cent said their leader requires them to take their required breaks and time off. In addition, about a fifth (21 per cent) reported they feel appreciated by their leader, 15 per cent said their leader helps them manage their workload demands and 20 per cent indicated their leader always communicates changes that may impact their work.

Read: How to build a psychologically safe workplace

In addition, while the survey found about half (47 per cent) of employees believed their leader would respond promptly to physical safety concerns, only a third (29 per cent) said the same about psychological health. And while fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) of employees reported their leaders always ensure the workplace and interactions among employees are inclusive and respectful, this percentage was higher (32 per cent) among employees working remotely.

“The message is clear: many employees are not feeling as psychologically safe as their supervisors or managers think they are,” said Mary Ann Baynton, director of collaboration and strategy at Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, in a press release. “Leaders don’t have to be mental-health experts to create psychologically safe workplaces. It can be as simple as encouraging employees to take their breaks every day or helping to set priorities, so employees are less likely to feel overwhelmed or exhausted.” 

Read: 36% of racialized, Indigenous employees reporting psychological safety concerns: survey