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Ways to Foster a Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplace

Ways to Foster a Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplace


A psychologically safe and healthy workplace promotes emotional well-being, and presents minimal risk to employee mental health. By making changes to your work environment, and offering support to employees, you can reduce the occurrence, duration and severity of mental illness, and enhance recovery. So how do we do that?

There is no one "right way" to create a mentally healthy workplace. Every workplace is different from the size of the organization, to the people doing the work, the work that needs to be done, and the leaders of the organization. All of these factors play a role in employee mental health. However, businesses can create and nurture a psychologically healthy workplace by including mental health in their business plan. Poor mental health not only hurts the individual, it also reduces corporate profits. It's important that all levels of the workplace - including the Board of Directors, management, finance, and human resources departments - get involved to incorporate mental health in the workplace.

Here are three things you can do to foster a psychologically safe and healthy workplace:

1. Create and implement a Comprehensive Workplace Health and Safety Program. This program is a series of strategies and related activities, initiatives and policies developed by the employer, in consultation with employees, to continually improve or maintain the quality of working life, health, and the well-being of the workforce. These activities are developed as part of a continual improvement process to improve the work environment (physical, psychosocial, organizational, economic), and to increase personal empowerment and personal growth.

2. Commit to creating a workplace that promotes mental well-being. It is essential to have strong and clear senior leadership and the meaningful involvement of leaders in the development of a mental health program. Organizational commitment is crucial. All levels of the organization play a role in designing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing policies or practices. Form a corporate wellness working group with representation from senior management, employees, trade unions, human resources, and occupational health and wellness experts to lead this initiative.

3. Educate and train each member of the organization (managers, supervisors, employees and health and safety committee members) about the importance of mental health in the workplace. Provide education and training that ensures managers and employees know how to recognize hazards such as harassment, bullying, and psychologically unhealthy work conditions. This training provides concrete ways for co-workers to recognize and talk about mental health issues in general. Managers can additionally contribute to a positive work environment if they have the skills and knowledge to identify and respond to issues before they escalate.

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety