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Workplace Mental Health Accommodation

This month we had the pleasure of hosting the Canadian Institute’s Calgary conference on Workplace Mental Health Accommodation. In a wide-ranging and important discussion, we heard from a community passionate about managing workplace mental health with compassion and courage.

As we listened intently to the variety of discussions a few themes began to emerge.  This is a community that cares greatly and is committed to social change. Leaders on the forefront of mental health accommodations are working to ensure there is a human-centered approach, undertaking conversations with compassion. Being proactive is important. It takes courage to open the conversation, and courage to change an organizational culture which may fight the vulnerability it takes to create a safe space for disclosure.

The legislation around privacy, and the policies around workplace accommodation are complex.  It takes a community to support, to inform, and to enable change in mental health accommodation. There are resources available; no one person can do it all.

Hearing from speakers from a wide range of industries including policing, health care, oil and gas and retail highlighted the impact of corporate culture on how we address mental health in the workplace. What evidence do you have that employee mental health is important in your workplace? What are the barriers to creating a change in culture? Fostering an environment that allows for vulnerability can be a both a challenge and an opportunity. Ultimately it is clear, especially after hearing stories over these two days at the conference, that self-disclosing mental health issues is a sign of strength rather than of weakness, and that as a working community, if we have the courage and the strength to stand up and support and accommodate those who need it most we are all the better for it.

If you are a courageous champion for change in your organization and would like to join the conversation, we encourage you to reach out to colleagues across industries and borders to keep the conversation going and learn from each other. We can all learn from the different approaches organizations have taken with these issues.  Feel free to join our LinkedIn Group and share your thoughts.

Workplace Fairness West supports organizations who seek to be proactive with managing workplace mental health.  If you want to engage and involve your employees to begin this dialogue and shift a culture, we would like to collaborate with you.  We are similarly focusing on providing services to assist with the implementation of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  Workplace Fairness West champions Human Resources and employees managing Accommodation and Return to Work situations through mediation, coaching and facilitation.

Some further resources:
Alberta Human Rights Commission’s interpretive bulletin – Duty to Accommodate
Alberta Human Rights Commission’s interpretive bulletin – Obtaining and responding to medical information in the workplace.
The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Implementation Guide to The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Guarding Minds at Work
Mental Health First Aid

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