Each week, 500,000 Canadians miss work due a mental health problem or illness. Many of these workers are from the healthcare sector. In fact, staff working in the healthcare sector are 1.5X more likely to miss work due to illness or disability than people in all other sectors. Working in healthcare comes with unique rewards and equally unique risks. They face higher rates of burnout, compassion fatigue and sleep deprivation that can impact their psychological health and safety as well as the safety of their patients.  
 
In 2013 the Mental Health Commission of Canada championed the development of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (The Standard), developed by the Canadian Standards Association and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec. The Standard is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools and resources to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work. The Standard is framed around recognizing and taking action on 13 psychosocial factors that can positively or negatively impact an individual’s mental health. It helps workplaces shift their workplace culture to value the mental health of employees as we do physical health.
While the Standard is applicable to all industries, it has a unique role for healthcare workers. A psychologically safe workplace promotes a positive culture, can prevent stigma and discrimination and can contributes to a productive working environment. Creating mentally healthy workplaces not only benefits staff wellbeing and satisfaction but also translates to safer, more effective patient, resident and client care.

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