Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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20 www.hrreporter.com F E A T U R E S THE The City of Edmonton has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to mental health support for employees. By setting up a peer support team in the early 2000s and continuously offering mental health training programs to staff, it continues to set the bar when it comes to workplace mental health. In 2007, the city determined — based on needs, trends and increased awareness around mental health issues — to increase education and training by introducing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to employees. Fast forward 10 years and the city had trained about 2,000 staff members in MHFA. This training resulted in an overall heightened awareness around mental health in the workplace, as well as the need to do more around mental health. and encouraging everyone to take the course. "It was really impressive to see," says Culling. "Leadership was extremely receptive and supportive of the training from the get-go. They all felt the training was needed and were open to working collaboratively to get as many city employees trained as possible. They all recognized this needed to be a priority moving forward." Impressive results As of December 2019, the City of Edmonton had trained more than 1,300 staff members in The Working Mind. With plans already in place to train all employees, the results have been very impressive. The following data was retrieved from a post-training participant survey conducted by The Working Mind: • 95 per cent agree the topic of the training was important for their role. MENTAL HEALTH SKILLS APPRECIATED BY MANAGEMENT business case to present to the City of Edmonton leadership team, to highlight the benefits of The Working Mind training. "Buy-in was very high from our leadership team," says Jessica Culling, a mental health/healthy living consultant with the City of Edmonton. "After our successful rollout of MHFA, there was a heightened awareness around workplace mental health and The Working Mind training received a warm reception from all the managers and supervisors." Before offering the training to employees, the City of Edmonton hosted a three-hour executive level training for senior-level staff. With the city manager, deputy city managers and branch managers in attendance, many returned to their individual departments praising the program 9 IN 10 Number of managers and supervisors who say it's important for them to continue improving their skills in managing distressed workers 9 IN 10 Number of managers and supervisors who say they feel it's a good use of time to focus on building skills that will help them better respond to emotionally distressed workers EDMONTON TARGETS MENTAL HEALTH Having provided mental health support for employees since the early 2000s, the City of Edmonton was looking to further boost training and awareness, so it decided to start offering a new type of course previously used for first responders The working mind After seeing the success of MHFA, John Dowds, lead chaplain and senior mental health consultant with the City of Edmonton, started looking into other potential programs it could add to the corporate mental health strategy. Dowds reached out to the Edmonton Fire Rescue, which was training staff members in The Working Mind First Responders (TWMFR, formerly known as Road to Mental Readiness) program and seeing tremendous success. It came about that the TWMFR offered by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) was being adapted for the general workplace, and Dowds knew it would make a strong addition to the City of Edmonton's internal offerings. To move forward with the course, Dowds and his team developed a 2 IN 3 Number of managers and supervisors who say they could do their jobs more effectively if they found ways to more easily manage distressed workers 27% Number of people who have experienced a mental health condition or mental illness 21% Number of people who have taken medication to help with their mental health 14% Number of people who have taken time off work or school to deal with a mental health issue Sources: Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace; Ipsos F O C U S O N : T R A I N I N G / P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T

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