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Mental health stigma declining, but not fast enough

Published by: LifeWorks,

Mental health stigma is in decline
Although employee stress is on the increase, the stigma associated with mental health issues has declined due to improvements made as a result of changes in workplace approaches to mental health.

In an annual survey of Canadian workers, 67 per cent of respondents expressed concerned that their career options would be limited if they had a mental health issue and their workplace knew about it.

Although this number is down 10 per cent from 2014, stress levels are on the rise. When compared to data from five years ago, more than one-third of employee respondents are more stressed now by work (35%) and personal (36%) pressures.

The Employers Connect Morneau Shepell Workplace Mental Health Research Study 2019, was released today in alignment with Bell’s annual Let’s Talk Day in Canada, which encourages greater corporate engagement around psychological health and safety in the workplace.

The Morneau Shepell findings reveal that employees who report suffering from high (79 per cent) and medium (68 per cent) levels of work stress are more likely to be worried about the impact on their careers if their workplace knew about any mental wellness issues.

As part of Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell has released a series of interviews with people from all walks of life who have struggled, and overcome, mental health issues.

One of these is Andi Sharma, who struggled with drug addiction as a 19-year-old student. Her addiction ultimately cost her two jobs, and her university placement. But with therapy, she began to realize she was stronger than her addiction and with each small victory, Andi’s self-esteem grew, and she started gaining the confidence to make decisions and get her life back on track.

Mental illness directly or indirectly affects us all at some point. It is the leading cause of workplace disability in Canada and represents 15 per cent of Canada’s entire burden of disease. But with the positive change in stigma, the impact of mental wellness challenges can be decreased.

Morneau Shepell’s study also found that self-stigma has declined from two-thirds (65 per cent) in 2014, to 56 per cent among employees currently who indicate they would feel negatively about themselves if they had a mental health issue.

 

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