Leadership: mental health resources to support your people

April 22, 2021

Personal and professional demands can test the mental health of all of us.

One in five Canadians experience a mental health problem or illness each year, equating to 500,000 employees unable to work every week due to mental health problems or illnesses.

Business leaders need to ask themselves:

How can I best support my people to be resilient?

How can I be a better leader for my team when it comes to mental health?

Lead by example

Harvard Business Review advises that “when we acknowledge our mental health, we get to know ourselves better, and are more authentic people, employees, and leaders. Research has found that feeling authentic and open at work leads to better performance, engagement, employee retention, and overall well-being.”

Talking about mental wellness is an important facet of self-care for all members of the team—including leaders. Communication lessens stigmatization and supports team members.

Lead with communication

Genuine communication will help you provide your employees with a healthy, safe, inclusive, accessible, and supportive workplace. If your team is virtual, it's even more important not to be remote—be mindful to keep the open and authentic channels of communication you would have if your team worked in a shared office.

Begin the conversation by sharing resources that support mental wellness—and sharing your experiences.

Lead with access to mental health resources

While not exhaustive, we've curated a list of available resources to support conversations around mental wellness in your workplace.

If your organization has a employee-and-family assistance plan (EFAP), start by providing information on how to access the confidential service—most EFAPs are available 24/7/365 and are an immediate resource.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA): Not Myself Today

Leaders should be aware of CMHA's Not Myself Today program, which provides learning modules and other tools for employees to manage their mental health. Designed to support employees, CMHA charges a nominal fee to participating businesses—typically $5 per employee annually. Employees create a password-protected account to access this online program. Learn more about Not Myself Today.

CAMH: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

CAMH offers an A–Z online repository of “accessible, reliable, professionally produced resources on an array of mental health topics for patients, families, students, and professionals.

A Canada-wide suicide prevention hotline is also available through the Toronto-based centre: 1-833-456-4566.

Ontario Society of Registered Psychotherapists

The Ontario Society of Registered Psychotherapists (OSP) website is designed to help people to find therapists in recognized modalities not limited to the medical model. All OSP Clinical and Qualifying Members are Registered Psychotherapists who meet rigorous standards of practice and ethics. Many employee-benefits plans cover psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, as well as psychiatry.

Stronger Minds by BEACON

Videos, text-based resources, and resilience-building activities are available through Stronger Minds by BEACON to help participants overcome stress and stay positive—all content is based on the insights of clinical psychologists. Stronger Minds by BEACON is now free for Ontario residents.

The School of Life

The School of Life, “an organization built to help us find calm, self-understanding, resilience, and connection, especially during troubled times,” also offers articles and videos—as well as virtual workshops and social events, online therapy, and other resources.

The School of Life emphasizes “the need to understand ourselves better, so we can secure serenity and make optimally reliable decisions, particularly around love and work.”

Tranquility Online

An app for individuals or organizations, Tranquility Online helps those living with anxiety get access to help that is stigma-free, affordable, timely, personal, and accessible.


Headspace is an app that provides guided meditations to help people sleep, relax, and stay focused.


Calm is an app that helps users sleep better, boost confidence, and reduce stress and anxiety by using guided meditations, relaxing music, and bedtime stories. There is a seven-day free trial but the app does have an annual cost.

Mental health: an ongoing conversation

Communicate consistently, clearly, compassionately—sharing your own humanity—to start the conversation about mental health in your workplace.

Call on these practices to continue the dialogue with your people about mental wellness.

Call on us to learn about how we can help you support the success of your people.

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