Canadians spent most of their waking hours at work: home is for family, solitude and sleep.

Because almost one fourth of the population is expected to experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, mental health support in the workplace is becoming more important than ever.

Canada is growing younger. In just 10 years, 75 per cent of the workforce will be made up of millennials.

And with suicide rates the highest among this particular demographic, more mental health supports are not only expected, but are a necessity to a healthy work environment.

According to Statistics Canada, “employees who considered most days to be either quite a bit, or extremely stressful, are three times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode.”

Especially with Alberta’s current economic state, workplace stresses are at all-time highs. Almost equally as alarming is many employees’ lack of confidence speaking to employers about mental health; in Canada’s 2008 Mental Health Strategy, the Canadian Medical Association “found only 23 per cent of Canadians feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental illness.”

If you suffer from a mental illness, you should have the right to feel safe at work – especially if you spend most of your time there.

Providing more mental health supports and talking openly about mental health as the Canadian workforce grows younger is crucial to not just making employees feel cared for at work, but it can also cut the staggering economic costs associated with mental health problems.

Teamsters 362 has campaigned to get more mental health support in the workplace with our Make It Mandatory initiative. It is something that is so important for all Canadians.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, “about 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses.”

Awareness around mental health is growing, and as both employers and employees, it is our job to talk about it openly – no one should have to suffer at the hands of unmitigated psychological health in the workplace.