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Workplace Mental Health


Making an active effort to support mental health in the workplace benefits both employees and employers by improving productivity, mood, employee satisfaction, staff retention and teamwork. Learn more below about psychological health and safety in the workplace and other resources to promote workplace mental health.

Mental Health in the Workplace

With Canadians spending more than half of their waking hours at work, promoting good mental health in the workplace is important. Employers can play a significant role in promoting positive mental health for their employees, whether working from home or at the workplace.

Mental health promotion is an approach that goes beyond the focus on risk factors for mental illness and seeks to create and support conditions that enhance positive mental health, resiliency, social belonging, and knowledge and access to mental health resources. It works to increase the strengths and competencies that individuals and communities already possess. Mental health promotion is for everyone.

Promoting mental health in the workplace can:

  • Reduce absenteeism, presenteeism, injuries and sick days
  • Attract and retain the best employees while reducing employee turnover
  • Increase productivity, job satisfaction and morale
  • Decrease health expenses, insurance and benefits costs
  • Improve corporate reputation and image

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard)

The workplace can help or hinder psychological wellbeing. A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that actively works to promote employee mental wellbeing and does not harm employee mental health through negligent, intentional or reckless ways. Workplaces that implement systems and processes to avoid risk to psychological health and safety can be create a supportive environment for the employee. As more workplaces adopt remote working policies, organizations have an important role to play in ensuring that psychological health and safety extends beyond the physical workplace.

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) (external link) can help workplaces promote mental health and prevent psychological harm at work.

The Standard is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools and resources intended to guide organizations in creating or maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. It focuses on mental illness prevention and mental health promotion. Implementing the standard can benefit everyone, regardless of whether or not they live with mental illness.

The standard includes 13 factors that address mental health in the workplace

A work environment where there is recognition of the need for employees to be able to manage the demands of work, family and personal life.


A work environment where all employees including management are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public.


A work environment where there is effective leadership and support so that employees know what they need to do, have confidence in their leaders and understand impending changes.


In a work environment where there is positive engagement, employees are motivated to do their job well and feel connected to their work, co-workers, and organization.


A work environment where employees’ psychological safety is ensured through policies and, employees are free from bullying, harassment, stigma and discrimination.


Implementing the Standard

The Standard recommends that organizations implement a Psychological Health and Safety Management System (PHSMS) for assessing how policies, processes and interactions in the workplace might impact the psychological health and safety (PH&S) of employees. A PHSMS helps an organization identify hazards that can contribute to psychological harm to the worker. It is a preventive approach that assesses your workplace’s practices and identifies those areas of concern. When concerns are noted, the organization must suggest strategies for preventive measures that are anticipated to reduce potential harm or eliminate hazards. It should be noted that the implementation of a PHSMS is intended to promote positive mental health and prevent harm to employee mental health, not to diagnose and/or provide intervention for mental illness.

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

MHCC has created an implementation guide to support workplaces with implementing the Standard.


This is a step-by-step resource for the Standard. This toolkit provides practical advice for implementing key elements of the Standard, and links to tools that will assist organizations to take action towards implementation. It is geared toward senior leaders, human resource managers, and occupational health and safety professionals. It offers a roadmap to implementation of the Standard.

Other Resources for Workplace Mental Health Promotion

  • Being A Mindful Employee: An Orientation to Psychological health and Safety in the Workplace (external link)
    This is a free online training program for employees. The training can help employees understand the 13 psychosocial workplace factors from the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The program demonstrates what can impact employee mental health and what we can all do to support ourselves and others in the workplace.
  • Guarding Minds at Work (external link)
    Guarding Minds at Work is a free set of resources designed to protect and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace. It allow employers to effectively assess and address the psychosocial factors known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of workers, and the financial bottom line. The site also offers strategies, planning worksheets and evaluation resources to improve the psychological health and safety of workplaces in Canada.
  • Returning To A Shared Workspace: A psychological toolkit for transitioning to a new normal.
    This is a guide developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to support the mental health of individuals as they plan safe transitions back into their employers shared workspaces, and designed to help employers as they develop policies and procedures for supporting staff returning to a shared workspace.
  • Workplace Strategies for Mental Health (external link)
    This hub provides practical strategies and tools for employers. It aims to increase knowledge and awareness of workplace psychological health and safety and improve the ability to respond to mental health issues at work.
  • Healthy Minds@Work (external link)
    The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed a hub of tools and resources to support workplaces in their efforts to address psychological health and safety in the workplace
  • Healthy Workplaces – Stress (external link)
    The CCOHS has several resources on managing stress in the workplace for employees and employers.