Scott Wallace PhD
Feb 14 · 3 min read
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Mental health in the workplace may seem like another trendy topic but many employers ignore it at their peril. Fostering a psychologically health and safe workplace should be an organizational priority, not just because it’s ethically the right thing to do, but because it’s an investment well spent.

An Avail Workplace Mental Health Industry Report | February 2019

Doing nothing to create a mentally healthy workplace culture is costly. When you don’t consider employee mental health, benefit premiums sky rocket as mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety rapidly become a main cause of disability.

In 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted an analysis of the cost to business of poor mental health in the workplace. The cost of lost productivity resulting from absenteeism, presentism (employees presenting for work when they are unwell) and compensation claims amounted to $11 billion per year.

The analysis found that for every dollar invested on a single action designed to improve mental health, on average business can expect to see a return on investment (ROI) of $2.30. This represents a 33% reduction in absenteeism, presenteeism and compensation claims.

PricewaterhouseCoopers looked at a range of preventative, early intervention and return to work measures which research shows, has proven benefits for improving workplace health. These include:

  • worksite physical activity programs;
  • coaching and mentoring programs;
  • mental health first aid and education;
  • resilience training;
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy based return-to-work programs;
  • well-being checks or health screenings; and,
  • encouraging employee involvement.

The measures individual organizations adopt vary but evidence shows that even if they are only able to adopt one or two, they can still have a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of employees, the organization and the bottom line.

To prevent employers from going down the path of having to assess presenteeism and absenteeism rates, Canadian workplaces have opportunity to adopt a leading prevention strategy in the form of the CSA/BNQ National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. This framework is centered around 13+ workplace factors — ways to help workplaces address the potential for mental harm or injury. They are:

  1. Organizational culture;
  2. Psychological support;
  3. Clear leadership and expectations;
  4. Civility and respect;
  5. Psychological demands;
  6. Growth and development;
  7. Recognition and reward;
  8. Involvement and influence;
  9. Workload management;
  10. Engagement;
  11. Balance;
  12. Psychological protection; and
  13. Protection of physical safety.

The Take Home Message?

The world of work is evolving around us. It’s no longer strictly a physical effort that’s needed, it’s often cognitive — and as such it takes a toll the psychological health of employees.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, your staff are essential to the success and sustainability of your organization. Taking steps to protect such a fundamental asset is a crucial business strategy.

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Ready To Help Your Employees Excel and Thrive?

Avail is a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) based holistic well-being solution for organizations and their employees. Avail’s proactive, mobile-first, anytime platform uses clinical and behavioural data-driven insights to provide employees with personalized well-being profiles that are increasingly refined to reflect changes in well-being as circumstances change. Each profile aims to equip employees with insight and actionable skills to achieve optimal mental well-being, strengthened resilience and a mindset that promotes high engagement and performance.

For employees with untreated mental health problems or who want to improve their mental wellbeing without stigma or privacy concerns, Avail’s Care Navigator recommends options ranging from psychoeducational content (e.g. articles, videos) to professional care from our national provider network. Care resources can be augmented with any care options your organization provides. For administrators, Avail’s aggregate analytics and insights track your organization’s care service utilization and identifies trends in the mental health and well-being of your workforce.

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Learn More

  1. This site provides access to reputable and tested tools, models and frameworks for implementing workplace mental health best practices.
  2. The Psychological Health and Safety Standard. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieve from:
  3. PricewaterhouseCoopers (2014). Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis. Retrieve from:


Avail works with you to observe changes in your mood, energy, stress, sleep quality and more, and then suggests personalized action plans and support resources to help you improve your well-being and be your best you.

Scott Wallace PhD

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Avail works with you to observe changes in your mood, energy, stress, sleep quality and more, and then suggests personalized action plans and support resources to help you improve your well-being and be your best you.

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