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.

Featured

A worker wearing an apron and a cloth facial mask
At Work article

Adequacy of COVID infection control and PPE linked to workers’ mental health: study

Workers who felt safe at their physical work sites had better mental health than workers who felt workplace COVID-19 safety practices were inadequate, according to a study conducted by IWH and OHCOW at the start of the COVID-19 emergency.
Published: November 4, 2020
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress
At Work article

Depressive symptoms in people with arthritis linked to lower employment rates

Research has shown that people with arthritis face difficulties finding work and staying at work. Now, a new study finds that when people with arthritis also have depressive symptoms, the risks of work disability are even greater.
Published: October 2, 2020
Journal article
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

More than just COVID-19 prevention: Exploring the links between PPE, safe work protocols and workers' mental health

We have heard a lot about the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control procedures (ICP) in reducing workplace COVID-19 transmission. A new study, conducted jointly with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), set out to explore their importance in protecting workers' mental health. In this presentation, Dr. Peter Smith shares results from two surveys, one conducted among health-care workers and the other among the broader Canadian workforce. The findings provide important insights into the additional benefits of adequate design and implementation of employer-based infection control practices—beyond reducing COVID-19 transmission.
Published: November 2020
A worker wearing an apron and a cloth facial mask
At Work article

Adequacy of COVID infection control and PPE linked to workers’ mental health: study

Workers who felt safe at their physical work sites had better mental health than workers who felt workplace COVID-19 safety practices were inadequate, according to a study conducted by IWH and OHCOW at the start of the COVID-19 emergency.
Published: November 2020
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress
At Work article

Depressive symptoms in people with arthritis linked to lower employment rates

Research has shown that people with arthritis face difficulties finding work and staying at work. Now, a new study finds that when people with arthritis also have depressive symptoms, the risks of work disability are even greater.
Published: October 2020
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress
Research Highlights

Depression and work among adults with arthritis

About 13 per cent of working-age people in the U.S. who have arthritis also experience depressive symptoms. Having both arthritis and depressive symptoms lowers the likelihood of working. For people aged 35 to 54, having depressive symptoms in addition to arthritis lowers the likelihood of working by 17 per cent.
Published: October 2020
The Conversation logo
IWH in the media

Health-care workers lacking PPE suffer from more anxiety and depression

While personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control procedures are often discussed as measures to reduce virus transmission, we also need to understand their importance in the context of mental health, especially since the mental health impacts of COVID-19 may linger beyond the pandemic, writes IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Smith in The Conversation.
Published: The Conversation, September 2020
Workers Health & Safety Centre logo
IWH in the media

COVID precautions protect workers' physical and mental health, study

Canadian health-care workers say they lacked adequate COVID-19 precautions during the pandemic’s first wave and new research finds this also contributes to poorer mental health. Workers Health & Safety Centre shares findings from a study by IWH and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
Published: Workers Health & Safety Centre, September 2020