Partnership to support workplace psychological health in Sask.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Through the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) partnership with University of Fredericton (UFred), Saskatchewan employers will have access to resources to help establish systems and programs that protect the psychological health and wellness of their employees.

WCB and UFred have signed an agreement to increase access to training and resources for Saskatchewan employers. Among these resources include online psychological health and safety certificate programs at the basic, advanced and manager level. In addition to the resources in psychological health and safety, the partnership between UFred and the WCB will also provide course modules focused on enhancing workplace resiliency to cope with and manage common stressors.

According to a press release, the WCB has seen a 75 per cent increase in the number of psychological claims accepted over the last three years. While psychological claims only equate to a small percentage of all workplace injury claims accepted, the increase in the rate of acceptance is concerning.

 “Our focus at WorkSafe is to prevent injuries from happening in the workplace,” said Mooney. “One of the ways that we do this is by connecting employers with resources that will help to build a culture of safety – both physical and psychological.”

The resource-rich content of the resiliency course provides practical approaches for employees to lead a psychologically safe work environment and identify how to respond and manage situations where an employee is struggling.

“When we think about resiliency, we often think about the usual factors such as sleep, diet and exercise,” said Kevin Mooney, director of prevention at the WCB in a press release. “The UFred resiliency course addresses these factors and provides other practical self-help tools related to cognitive behavioural therapy, emotional intelligence and positive psychology.”

For UFred, working with the Saskatchewan employers will help to expand the university’s body of research around psychological health and safety in the workplace.

“Since the launch of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace in 2013, UFred has been actively engaged in developing educational programs that help Canadian employers protect the psychological safety of their workers,” said Dr. Sheri McKillop, vice-president of academics at UFred.

In addition to its new partnership with UFred, WorkSafe is hosting a one-day learning event in Saskatoon on Dec. 5., to bring together mental health expertise from across the country, the speaker lineup includes Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk, and Dr. Rakesh Jetly, Head of the Centre of Excellence in Mental Health.

“This event, paired with the resources being made available by the University of Fredericton, will serve as a foundation for employers in the province to become educated on the importance of a positive workplace environment for employees and provide the tools to establish and promote a psychologically healthy and safe workplace,” Mooney said.

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