Mental health in the workplace

Workplaces play a dual role in the area of mental health. On the one hand, they can be a stressful environment that contributes to mental health problems among workers. On the other hand, they can play an important part in helping to detect and manage mental health problems when they arise among workers, and in ensuring the healthy recovery and return of workers who are off work due to a mental health issue. IWH research in this area helps paint a clearer picture of the prevalence of mental health problems among workers, the types of labour force and workplace factors that may contribute to poor mental health, and the workplace-based and system prevention efforts that can help improve the mental health of workers and ensure they have the proper supports when needed.

Featured

Wooden blocks spell out the words 'fair,' and 'yes or no?'
At Work article

Claimants’ perceptions of fair treatment linked to lower odds of poor mental health

IWH study found claimants who said case managers treated them with dignity, and gave them needed information, had lower risks of psychological distress
Published: November 5, 2019
A roomful of working adults listen to a presenter
At Work article

Program raised workplace mental health awareness, but not likelihood of policy

A Thunder Bay community-based program led to greater employer knowledge of mental health issues, but little changes on the ground, finds researcher
Published: October 30, 2019
Close-up of two pairs of hands, belong to a counsellor and a patient sitting on a couch
Research Highlights

Access to mental health treatment among workers with physical injuries

Among workers with a compensation claim for a work-related musculoskeletal injury, 30 per cent also experience a serious mental condition. However, a minority of these workers receive treatment for their mental health conditions, according to an IWH study conducted in Australia.
Published: March 2020
Journal article
Journal article
Japanese craftsperson stands in front of his workstation, smiling
Sharing Best Evidence

What workplace interventions help workers with MSDs, pain and mental health conditions return to work?

This update of a previous systematic review sets out to find workplace-based interventions that are effective in helping workers with musculoskeletal, pain-related and/or mental health conditions return to work.
Published: December 2019
OHS Canada logo
IWH in the media

Protecting minds a priority in changing times

In a world where the only constant is change, mental health has become the fastest-growing category of disability in the workplace, Marcel Van der Wier writes. And yet, society is still taking an overly individualistic approach to mental health, emphasizing employee resilience instead of focusing on structural problems in the way work is organized, says Institute for Work & Health's Dr. Peter Smith.
Published: OHS Canada, November 2019
Wooden blocks spell out the words 'fair,' and 'yes or no?'
At Work article

Claimants’ perceptions of fair treatment linked to lower odds of poor mental health

Previous studies have suggested that the process of making a workers’ compensation claim may be linked to poorer mental health. Now, an IWH study suggests that claimant's perception of fair treatment by case managers may be key.
Published: November 2019
Journal article
Journal article

Reciprocal associations between depression, anxiety and work-related injury

Published: Injury Prevention, November 2019
A roomful of working adults listen to a presenter
At Work article

Program raised workplace mental health awareness, but not likelihood of policy

In Thunder Bay and surrounding area, public health officials began hearing that employers needed more resources on managing mental health. They responded with a community awareness program. According to a study, the program raised knowledge about the issue—and not just among those that took part.
Published: October 2019
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

Trends in depression and anxiety among Canadian labour force participants (2000-2016)

Despite much effort aimed at improving the mental health of Canadians, we still know little about the prevalence of two common mental health conditions across the working population. In this presentation, IWH Research Associate Kathleen Dobson shares her doctoral research exploring trends in depression and anxiety disorders in the Canadian workforce, from 2000 to 2016. She also highlights the challenges in creating high-quality population-based evidence about the labour force’s mental health.
Published: October 2019