Some people are more emotionally sensitive then others. These are the people who seem to have a sixth sense about when coworkers or acquaintances and may be ideal candidates to serve as a mental health champion in the workplace.
The role of mental health champion isn’t to diagnose or correct mental health problems, rather to recognize when other employees may be struggling and gently guide them in the right direction to get the help they need. When it comes to corporate wellness solutions, the importance of employees like this cannot be overstated. More importantly, with the right training, they can become essential assets for your business.
Why does Mental Health in the Workplace Matter so Much?
Most employers, as much as you want to devote time, attention, and care to the mental and physical health of your employees, must focus on the bottom line as their greatest priorities. Everyone in the organization relies on the business having a profitable year. This provides profits, job security, and helps to arrange for employee benefits, like employee wellness programs in Canada.
Did you know that one of every five Canadians will experience some variety of mental health related problems or illnesses this year – at a cost of approximately $50 billion – for one single year. More importantly, between 10 and 25 per cent of these types of issues with the potential to become serious mental health problems can be prevented before escalation occurs. For that to happen, though, someone has to recognize the signs and encourage appropriate action.
What does a Workplace Mental Health Champion Do?
A mental health champion in the workplace has been educated about signs and symptoms of various mental health issues like burnout, anxiety, depression, and others. Their roles are to recognize these symptoms, offer support to employees experiencing them, and then to create a pathway, within the organizational structure and corporate wellness plans for the organization, to accommodate the needs of the employee in question.
Needless to say, this person needs to be discrete and compassionate above all else. He or she needs to be able to related well with others, elicit trust, and encourage confidence among coworkers and other employees who may be facing tough life and mental health experiences at the moment.
The role of mental health champion can be held by anyone within the organization. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a person in a position of leadership. In fact, it may be more effective (and illicit greater confidence) if the person does not have a leadership role. Whoever takes on this critical role must go through proper training, through the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) who offers several training opportunities including Mental Health First Aid, a course offered by the MHCC throughout Canada. There are also several courses available through the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to help improve mental health awareness among Mental Health Champions in the workplace.
Good focus and attention on mental health and wellness is a key element of any successful corporate wellness services for Canadian employers. Because even in the best executive health programs mental health concerns are all too often overlooked or dismissed it is a position of growing importance in the modern workplace.