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Workplaces that strive to be healthy are being challenged to look beyond traditional wellness programs that focus solely on physical wellness.
We often make efforts to safeguard our physical health, but we tend to pay less attention to our psychological health. Every single person has a stake in their psychological or mental health.
By being resilient and managing change at home and at work, we can foster psychologically healthy habits.
What is Psychological Wellbeing?
Psychological wellbeing allows us to focus on our actions while completing daily and often repetitive tasks at work that we might take for granted. When we are distracted, we lose some of our edge around safety and increase our risk of injury.
Psychological health is about being aware of how our thoughts and feelings might be impacting our actions.
What is Emera doing differently?
At Emera and NS Power, we have a strong safety culture that is imbedded in our workforce. Our mental health strategy has taken it one step further.
Back in 2012, Emera recognized the need for more emphasis on psychological health and began planning a mental health strategy. We engaged the Saint Mary’s University Centre for the Study of Sport and Health to conduct surveys and focus groups among employees. The feedback we gathered from these sessions helped us to plan formal programs and services that foster mental and physical wellness.
Throughout these sessions, we emphasized strong attendance at all levels of the organization: 81 per cent of leaders and 76 per cent of employees received training in the first two years.
Together with our in-house case management team, we’ve also created a focus on early intervention strategies for employees and their families. We place an equal emphasis on physical recovery services like physio as well as psychological services like counselling, EFAP, addiction support and peer support.
Beyond our organization, we’ve partnered with a number of community initiatives, such as the Partners for Mental health “Not Myself Today” campaign.
Why prioritize psychological health in the workplace?
All of these efforts have shown more proactive responses to mental stress, a reduced number of absences due to mental health and lower long term disability claims for mental health.
From workplace education sessions to simply looking out for each other, both psychological health and safety are connected in everything that we do.
Investing in a safety program that includes psychological health is a commitment not only in our processes, policies and procedures but more importantly in our people. A psychologically healthy workplace gets the job done, safely.
Lyne Brun is the supervisor of Emera’s Health and Wellness department in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Psychologically Healthy Workplaces: An important issue for Nova Scotia