Workers seek help from employers for mental health and wellbeing

Employees are struggling with their mental health and want to take back control - here’s how employers can help

Workers seek help from employers for mental health and wellbeing
Daniel Martz, Vice-president, TELUS Health and President, Virtual Care – TELUS Health

Workers in Canada want better control over their health and emotions, says the ‘TELUS Mental Health Index.’ The trials and tribulations they faced during the pandemic caused people’s mental health to decline and they are still trying to overcome some of the challenges. Now they want to take responsibility for their mental and physical health, and they want help from their employers.

“During those unprecedented times as over three million Canadians were working from home for over a year, which means employees were trying to remain productive despite general feelings of uncertainty,” says Daniel Martz, vice-president, TELUS Health and president, Virtual Care – Telus Health. “Sharing their workspace with family members, caring for their children, and worrying about the future with the office only a few steps away at all times – it's hard to draw the line between one's personal life and work.

Mental health crisis

“It's pretty clear that Canadians are facing a mental health crisis. Already it's estimated that 60% of Canadians are currently experiencing mental health issues and, alarmingly, many of those employees will unfortunately not seek help. It's plain to see employees are struggling and they really need help.”

The TELUX report shows that more than one-in-five (22%) of workers reported having full control over their emotions. The mental health score of this group (81.9) is more than 46 points higher than workers who reported no control (35.5) and nearly 17 points higher than the national average (65.2). Women are nearly twice as likely as men to have reported having no control over their health.

Additionally, nearly one-quarter (23%) of workers in Canada have taken prescription medication for a mental health issue.

“Having a sense of control in key areas of one’s life is an important driver of mental health and wellbeing. The opportunity here for employers is to facilitate that control,” says Juggy Sihota, chief growth officer of TELUS Health. “Personalized flexibility and resources that address a continuum of health needs are essential to the sense of control over one’s health and wellbeing. This is something that workers want.

“TELUS Health data previously showed that one in four workers would prefer better support for their wellbeing over a 10 per cent increase in salary. Through this period of uncertainty, employers have the ability to empower their workers in ways that will keep them healthy and passionate about the work they are doing together.”

TELUS Health says that while counselling is effective tool for mental health issues, medication is sometimes required. People need the right medication at the right time. Employers can offer tools such as medication consultation and pharmacogenomic testing to help practitioners more closely match medications to a person’s physical make-up.

Martz says demand for employee wellness services is increasing and mental health is a growing theme across the world. He says employees want to receive broader health and wellness and work-life support from their employers.