This evening I had the opportunity to be enlightened by Adrianna Tetley of the Association of Ontario Health Centres around the work going into inclusion within the Healthcare sector, and found it particularly interesting to note the paradigm shifts happening around Oral/Dental health and Mental Health finally being acknowledged as a necessary part of how we view fundamental health care provisions. 

With Mental Health awareness on the rise, and a recent pledge by the Canadian Government to spend an additional $1.9 Billion over ten years on mental health programs in Ontario, many organizations are also waking up to the concept of ‘bringing the whole self to work’. This poses some interesting implications around what kind of “baggage” this might invite into the workplace and how to actually deal with it in the absence of qualified mental health practitioners, and many employers are still unsure of how to really interpret how much responsibility they are expected to take in embracing this evolving school of thought around the impact of declining mental health or wellness on performance. Many employers often opt to leave it up to their insurance providers or Employee Assistance Programs to provide necessary mental health support. However, these channels, just like the Canadian Mental Health Association’s programs, are only actually utilized reactively, often when it’s far too late, i.e. When mental health suffers to the point of addiction or breakdown. 

As we begin to raise the bar on inclusion, and equity within healthcare, and broaden our scope of healthcare provisions to include mental health, perhaps one of the key elements we need to encourage across ALL sectors, is a paradigm shift (and subsequently, a shift in learning strategy and spending) around which skills we need to equip our people with, in order to future proof our workforce. Perhaps rather than pushing our employees into time management and productivity tools training, we ought to popularize Inclusion and Anxiety Management training at every level of the organisation, so that we can look more proactively towards mental health, and take the pressure off of the ‘system’ before things get too far. A fortunate byproduct of this is that it optimises performance by enhancing focus and productivity, reducing number of sick days, as well as enhances the quality of professional relationships and collaboration as a result of better mood management. Sounds like a win-win solution so far.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Has your organisation/Would your organisation make this a reality? If not, what’s standing in the way? (Feel free to contribute below)

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