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Stand Up Speak Out: 85 percent of industry reports ‘good’ understanding of mental health management at work

Toronto, Ontario ⁠While workplace conversations around mental health are less stigmatized than a decade ago, there is still much work to be done, according to a recent survey of Collision Repair readers.

During May, which is designated Mental Health Month, we ran a survey asking readers how they address and manage stress, whether it be their own or that of employees, and how the industry can make improvements to its mental health protocol. 

Approximately 85 percent of respondents ranked their understanding of mental health at a “4” or higher, indicating good comprehension of the subject. When asked whether the increased attention to mental health is positive or negative in the workplace, most agreed that the shift to focus on well-being at work is a positive change. 

“Ten years ago we were not talking about any of this, at all. Since then, we’ve had some team members affected personally by mental health issues, so we talk openly about it.”

“We used to struggle in silence. Now we can get help and share best practices. We can also see the troubles in others and offer help.”

Even as discussions around mental health grow more and more common, the stigma persists, as many individuals continue to struggle in silence. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) data, one in five Canadians experience mental illness in any given year. Further, by the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, CAMH estimates that one in two have, or have had a mental illness.

“We can only help what we [can] identify,” pointed out another, referring to the fact that many staff might keep their personal or mental health struggles to themselves.

Despite almost all respondents agreeing that mental health is an important topic to discuss, 30.8 percent gave their workplace a score of “1”—no education provided⁠—when asked to rank their shop’s level of mental health training among managers and senior staff.

“While owners/managers need a better understanding of how to identify mental health concerns with staff (and themselves) we’re in a very bad way in this country in not having near enough mental health professionals to meet even the basic needs of those requiring help.”

Some respondents said inter-industry relations also play a significant role in the general well-being of the overall Canadian industry.

“Financial pressure for insurance affects my quality of life,” wrote one reader. 

“I really wish that insurance companies would realize the role they play in this. When staff are disrespectful to our front-line staff or when they are dismissive of the work we are doing, it really creates a different kind of stress that can’t be easily dismissed. 

“It’s tough to work in an environment where you do the best you can given the circumstances.”

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