Mental health in the workplace

Workplaces play a dual role in the area of mental health. On the one hand, they can be a stressful environment that contributes to mental health problems among workers. On the other hand, they can play an important part in helping to detect and manage mental health problems when they arise among workers, and in ensuring the healthy recovery and return of workers who are off work due to a mental health issue. IWH research in this area helps paint a clearer picture of the prevalence of mental health problems among workers, the types of labour force and workplace factors that may contribute to poor mental health, and the workplace-based and system prevention efforts that can help improve the mental health of workers and ensure they have the proper supports when needed.

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13 colourful cardboards, each with a question mark cut-out in the middle, overlap each other in a pile
At Work article

Widely used survey lacks ability to tell apart 13 distinct psychosocial work factors

The Guarding Minds @ Work survey is designed to measure 13 dimensions of the psychosocial work environment. But a study of its measurement properties, carried out by IWH and OHCOW, finds it unable to measure each dimension in isolation.
Published: May 24, 2022
A young woman looks at her phone in frustration and exasperation
At Work article

Poor interactions with case managers linked with risk of mental illness later on

A new Ontario study finds face higher risks of serious psychological distress among injured workers who report not being treated with respect or not given the information they need in their interactions with case managers.
Published: March 9, 2022
Journal article
Journal article
Workers Health & Safety Centre logo
IWH in the media

Educators lack protection in-class and support online, studies find

Educators have worked on the pandemic frontlines from day one but until now few studies have examined how evolving teaching conditions impact their health and safety.
Two recent peer-reviewed studies by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) shed light on the impacts of COVID upon educators. A lack of workplace protective measures and support for those teaching online have taken a huge toll on educators’ mental and physical health.
Published: Workers Health & Safety Centre, November 2022
Journal article
Journal article

Perceived adequacy of infection control practices and symptoms of anxiety among in-person elementary school educators in Ontario

Published: Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, November 2022
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

Return to work in Ontario police services: Current experiences and practices

What challenges do members of police services, both sworn officers and civilian staff, face in their recovery and return to work after a work injury?  In this presentation, IWH Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd shares what he heard from police members⁠—those who were injured as well as those supporting return-to-work⁠— in a qualitative study on return to work in Ontario police services. Using quotes and examples, he also offers suggestions on policies and practices that emerged from the data and that police services can implement to improve the return-to-work process. 
Published: October 2022
Canadian HR Reporter logo
IWH in the media

Study raises concerns about popular psychosocial work survey

Many organizations gauge the mental health of their workplace with the use of a psychosocial work survey. But one widely used survey, Guarding Minds at Work, may have some problems with its effectiveness, according to a joint study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), writes John Dujay.


Published: Canadian HR Reporter, June 2022
13 colourful cardboards, each with a question mark cut-out in the middle, overlap each other in a pile
At Work article

Widely used survey lacks ability to tell apart 13 distinct psychosocial work factors

The Guarding Minds @ Work survey is designed to measure 13 dimensions of the psychosocial work environment. But a study of its measurement properties, carried out by IWH and OHCOW, finds it unable to measure each dimension in isolation.
Published: May 2022
A young woman looks at her phone in frustration and exasperation
At Work article

Poor interactions with case managers linked with risk of mental illness later on

A new Ontario study finds face higher risks of serious psychological distress among injured workers who report not being treated with respect or not given the information they need in their interactions with case managers.
Published: March 2022
Workers Health & Safety Centre logo
IWH in the media

MSD prevention should consider role of gender and psychosocial hazards too

Workplaces need to examine how work is organized and assigned by gender if they want to understand and address the real root causes of musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs). WHSC reports on a virtual RSI Day event hosted by the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s Occupational Health Centre with support from SAFE Work Manitoba. As part of the program IWH scientists Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd and Dr. Heather Johnston offered an interactive presentation exploring common work-related risk factors for both musculoskeletal and psychological injury.
Published: Workers Health & Safety Centre, March 2022