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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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
Wooden blocks spell out the words 'fair,' and 'yes or no?'
At Work article

Claimants’ perceptions of fair treatment linked to lower odds of poor mental health

Previous studies have suggested that the process of making a workers’ compensation claim may be linked to poorer mental health. Now, an IWH study suggests that claimant's perception of fair treatment by case managers may be key.
Published: November 5, 2019
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
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
A spread of folded newspapers
IWH in the media

Patients with arthritis, depression more likely to be unemployed

Depression symptoms are associated with unemployment among working-age adults with arthritis, with middle-aged adults most affected. Jason Laday reports on a study published by Dr. Arif Jetha in Arthritis Care & Research.
Published: Healio, September 2020
Canadian Occupational Safety logo
IWH in the media

Lack of PPE related to healthcare workers’ anxiety, depression: report

Sixty per cent of health-care workers in Canada reported anxiety at levels surpassing an accepted threshold for clinical screening for the condition. This is most prevalent among those whose needs for personal protective equipment have not been met, Jim Wilson reports on a study by Institute for Work & Health and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers.
Published: Canadian Occupational Safety, June 2020
A spread of folded newspapers
IWH in the media

COVID-19: One more reason to take mental health seriously

Many who work in the construction industry have direct experience of how important it is to support and understand mental health. Fortunately, the industry has recognized this problem and is working on solutions, writes Milwaukee consultant Bruce Morton in a column that cites Institute for Work & Health research on levels of depression following a work injury.
Published: The Daily Reporter, April 2020
Close-up of two pairs of hands, belong to a counsellor and a patient sitting on a couch
Research Highlights

Access to mental health treatment among workers with physical injuries

Among workers with a compensation claim for a work-related musculoskeletal injury, 30 per cent also experience a serious mental condition. However, a minority of these workers receive treatment for their mental health conditions, according to an IWH study conducted in Australia.
Published: March 2020