What does a psychologically healthy workplace look like?

We have just completed our new 5-year strategic and operational plan at Klinic, and I am very excited about where it will take us.  I have previously blogged about planning and change, and the impacts of these activities in workplaces, which you can read here.  I am especially pleased with the time our Board of Directors took to both receive and respond to feedback from staff, throughout  planning.  The results are demonstrated in the following four approved strategic outcomes for Klinic:

  1. Klinic is a healthy, respectful and collaborative workplace.
  2. Klinic demonstrates efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Klinic’s communities and stakeholders understand Klinic’s mission, vision and values
  4. Klinic’s focus generates accessible and responsive programs and services.

Our primary operational strategy under the first outcome is to, along with all of our partners in the Manitoba Association of Community Health (MACH), adopt The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard).

What is the Standard?

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) – the first of its kind in the world, is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools and resources intended to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work.

You can read more  at  http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/national-standard

The Standard is made up of the following 13 factors:


Though every workplace is different, and will need to both evaluate and implement the standard to fit their collective needs, one of the benefits is that it is based on a significant amount of research and evidence on what makes a healthy workplace.  In addition, there are a great deal of resources and supports available to help support implementation, from an animated video series, to guide books, to free online assessment tools like Guarding Minds at Work.

To recognize Mental Health Week 2017, Safe Work Manitoba released its own Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Strategy to help Manitoban employers with implementation of the strategy.   Over the past year many of us have been coming together to support this strategy development in a variety of ways, including a one day workshop for employers last spring.

Above: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Winnipeg and Manitoba staff at the launch of the Safe Work Strategy. CMHA will be offering new services locally and nationally to support implementation of the Standard.

As community health centres, we have an excellent opportunity to take advantage of these resources and benefit from the expertise of one of our own MACH members, the MFL Occupational Health Centre, who have developed a workplace advisor program on the Standard with training and support from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). Recently we held a joint training for workplace committee members from across the MACH membership on the basics of the Standard and how to get started.  Our next step is to support workplace committees in starting to assess their own workplaces and bring them together regularly to form a larger supportive community of practice.

I could not possibly think of a more fitting model for community health adoption of the Standard and I am looking forward to working with our new workplace committees at both Klinic and SERC as we move forward.

Below: Geoff Thompson from MFL OHC presents on the Standard to the SERC team