Staples Canada earns mental-health award for focus on early prevention

An increased focus on early intervention led Staples Canada to the mental-health award at Benefits Canada’s 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards in Toronto on Oct. 11. 

After noticing that mental health was becoming a larger issue within the organization, Staples adopted the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace, created its own psychological health and safety plan and started monitoring participation and usage of its workplace health programs.

Read: Staples Canada focuses on mental health, pharmacogenetic testing

The company also introduced mental-health training for leaders, provided enhanced care for those with severe depression and piloted an outreach program through its employee assistance program to help those on disability.

Kate Tilsley, senior director of total rewards and human resource information system at Staples Canada, credits the win to the breadth of the company’s health interventions, as well as building mental-health thinking into all of its programs. 

The disability management program involves screening employees on short-term disability with mental-health issues to help create a recovery plan. It also offers a video visit with a specialist within five days of the employee being deemed at high risk.

Looking at the link between mental and financial health, Staples Canada also began offering participation in its registered retirement savings plan and deferred profit-sharing plan to employees’ spouses for their own personal accounts. It also includes sessions with a financial planner and provides no-cost, external financial planning advice.

Read: A look at one company’s experience with pharmacogenetic testing

The company also started a pharmacogenetics pilot project to help employees on short-term disability get on the right medication and improve their outcomes. “Those were some of the things where once you’ve got the basics down you can continue to build and evolve your strategy without forgetting where you came from, because it’s not a one and done but also continue to build,” says Tilsley.

Results have been positive so far, with 61 per cent of those in the depression care program showing improvement. As well, 91 per cent of those in the disability management program received an adjustment to their medication and 42 per cent were referred to a cognitive behavioural therapist.

Read the full list of 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards winners here. And stay tuned in the coming days to learn more about each of the winners.