Study Finds that Mental Health Issues Affect 44% of Workers


A Canadian study of 1,010 workers has found that 44% of them were either currently suffering from or had previously experienced mental health issues, including anxiety, burnout, depression, substance abuse and schizophrenia.

Yet more than half of the workers interviewed said they’d be reluctant to disclose their burden to a co-worker, union official or, especially, their boss. Fifty-four percent of the workers felt that disclosing a mental health problem to a supervisor would hurt their chances for promotion.

“Mental health is a significant business issue that requires the attention of organizations. People who experience mental health issues face incredible challenges in the workplace,” says Karla Thorpe, Associate Director, Compensation and Industrial Relations for the Conference Board of Canada. “Many are misunderstood, shunned and underutilized.”

Only about one in four of the respondents felt that their supervisor effectively manages mental health issues.

The Conference Board of Canada says companies need to take action by:

  • Focusing on mental health education and communication to reduce fear, stigma and discrimination in the workplace;
  • Ensuring the organizational culture is conducive to supporting workers’ mental health;
  • Encouraging senior executives to show demonstrable leadership around mental health; and
  • Building managers’ capacity to support workers by providing the tools and training required in their role.

So do you think your company is doing a good job addressing and helping workers manage their mental health issues?