A multi-faceted community intervention is associated with knowledge and standards of workplace mental health: the Superior Mental Wellness @ Work study

Publication type
Journal article
Authors
Kristman VL Lowey J Fraser L Armstrong S Sawula S
Date published
2019 May 24
Journal
BMC Public Health
Volume
18
Issue
1
Pages
638-649
Open Access?
Yes
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Poor psychosocial work environments, such as those with low psychological support and high demands, can be harmful to the mental health of workers. In Canada, the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) provides a comprehensive framework for organizations to identify hazards that may contribute to the psychological harm of employees. This study examines the association between a multi-faceted community intervention, the Superior Mental Wellness @ Work program designed to increase awareness of mental health and the National Standard, and outcomes assessing increased awareness and response to the Standard. These outcomes included the 1) prioritization of workplace mental health; 2) familiarity with the Standard; and 3) knowledge of mental health. METHODS: A quasi-experimental design was used to assess the associations of interest. Surveys were sent to two random samples of employer representatives pre-and post-intervention. Intervention participants were also compared to non-participants at the post-intervention stage. T-tests and chi-square tests were used to compare differences between pre- and post-intervention outcomes and also between intervention participants and non-participants identified at the post-intervention survey. RESULTS: The multi-faceted community intervention was associated with increased familiarity of the Standard, and increased knowledge of mental health challenges, mental health promotion, and existing resources at a community-level. When comparing those companies who participated in the intervention versus those who did not, participants were more likely to prioritize mental health in the workplace. Participants reported a greater need for support to address workplace mental health, poorer perceived mental health of employees, and greater stigma than non-participants. However, participants were more likely to be familiar with the Standard, have an action plan to implement the Standard, and be prepared to champion mental health in the workplace. Participants also had greater knowledge of workplace mental health in general compared to non-participants. CONCLUSIONS: The multi-faceted community intervention, the Superior Mental Wellness @ Work project, was associated with increased familiarity of the Standard, and increased knowledge of mental health challenges, mental health promotion, and existing resources at a community-level. Such a multi-faceted intervention has the capacity to improve mental health literacy and awareness of the Standard.