By: Kate Cottrell
Mental health at work
If you are one of the women who saw children off for their first day of the new school year and then hurried to work yourself, you are familiar with the challenges of holding down a job and raising a family. When it comes to workplace stress, women with kids at home account for about 2 out of 3 workers who report being highly stressed.1
Workplace stress – with or without family demands – is nothing new to women, but it may be taking more of a toll than many people realize. Chronic stress has been linked with various mental health problems, from anxiety and insomnia to depression and substance abuse. Ongoing distress can contribute to workplace conflicts and injuries, and trigger the development of chronic conditions including heart disease, arthritis, ulcers, asthma and migraine.1
In 2013, national mental health standards for the workplace were established by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Standards Association and Quebec’s standards development body (BNQ). The commission noted that mental illnesses had become the fastest growing disability claim in the Canadian workplace.2
For many women, having a job is about more than making money – it plays an important role in a happy and productive life. Women who are dealing with mental health issues may need workplace accommodations in order to remain employed, yet often requesting assistance add to their distress when they are made to feel unworthy.3
Be persistent – workplace mental health standards were put in place for a reason. One in 5 Canadians suffer from a mental health problem,2 so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you are not alone. Don’t wait until you’re burned out – talk to your employer or your healthcare provider about your situation.
You may find it helpful to visit Working Through It (WTI), a bilingual online resource that shares others’ experiences in dealing with mental health issues at work, and tips to help stressed employees cope more effectively.4
Visit http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/employees/wti to learn more.