Disability leave due to mental health issues can be avoided



Managers spot early warning signs in employees up to 18 months before leave

Many employees transition to disability leave because of untreated mental health issues. A situation which in many cases could have been avoided, according to experts speaking at the world’s first Total Well-being Keynote.

When it comes to maintaining the well-being of the workforce, prevention is better than cure. But in order to be effective, well-being efforts need to support the whole person, 100% of the time, in their personal as well as professional life.

Paula Allen, Vice President of Research and Integrative Solutions for total well-being solution LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell, said: “Our own research shows that managers are able to tell that someone will transition to disability up to 18 months before they actually take leave. So, there are early warning signs.”

Making sure that Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are available is part of the solution, but this needs to be supported culturally in terms of making sure stigma is addressed and a mentally healthy work environment is encouraged.

Total well-being consists of four pillars: physical, mental, social and financial, all of which rely heavily on each other for support. While EAP is proven to be effective, it only reaches the 10% of people that reach out in times of need. To support 100% of the workforce, employees need something that speaks to them day-to-day, through the times that are good as well as the times that are bad.

“Everyone has different well-being drivers and different requirements,” said Allen. “People are very busy, so we need to break support into smaller pieces to fit into their lifestyle. Technology allows us to drive access to support for people who wouldn’t have otherwise asked for help.”

Alastair Macdonald, Senior Vice President of HR at Nestle Canada and special guest at the Total Well-being Keynote, said: “We know that when people go off work for mental health related issues they go off for a long time. So, if we can intervene before a crisis situation, in terms of prevention, intervention, or restoration, it’s money well spent.”

Join the world’s first Total Well-being Keynote, hosted by best-selling author and workplace culture expert, Chester Elton, on December 13 at 11am EST.