Staples Canada focuses on mental health, pharmacogenetic testing

As many organizations turn their focus to mental-health awareness in October, Staples Canada is reminding its employees they have help available if they need it.

The company’s October campaign will include promoting the employee assistance program, sharing the mental-health website from Morneau Shepell Inc. and fostering a stigma-free work environment, according to Kate Tilsley, Staples Canada’s senior director of total rewards and human resource information system.

“In addition, this October we are introducing a mental-health minute for managers. This is a quick email that will take only a minute out of their day, with facts about mental health, contact numbers and some highlights from our training sessions,” said Tilsley in an email to Benefits Canada.

Read: Five tips for successful workplace mental-health training

Staples has also trained new managers around mental health this year, according to Tilsley. “We are also ensuring that managers know how to connect associates to the resources that we have available. The take-home message in all our mental-health initiatives is to remind people that it’s OK to have those conversations, it’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to offer help without passing judgement.”

In addition, the company introduced pharmacogenetic testing, aiming to help employees get back to work more quickly by finding the most effective medications for them.

“Through this pilot, we hope to be able to show demonstrated value to the associate, improved health outcomes and shorter durations of claims for those who participate,” said Tilsley.

The program is still too new to show results, she noted. “As pharmacogenomics is still a relatively new concept, we think that we will see an increase in participation as the public becomes more aware and comfortable with the concept of the testing. We are currently looking to expand our program to a larger sample size.”

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