Update: PHC's Workplace Mental Health and Mental Wellness Journey

Feb 2, 2017 | News

As part of PHC’s Staff Mental Health & Mental Wellness strategy launched in 2015, Providence committed to leading by example in workplace mental health and mental wellness practices. PHC has committed to implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. This Standard is a benchmark that PHC is using to determine where to make improvements and how to measure our progress.

At PHC, 30–40% of PHC Occupational Health & Safety interactions with staff and about 30% of our Long Term Disability (LTD) open claims are related to mental health.

The Standard aligns closely with psychological health and safety initiatives currently underway at PHC and continues to be integrated into existing frameworks such as Occupational Health and Safety programs, Human Resources strategies and leadership development.

One of the first steps PHC undertook with its staff mental health and mental wellness strategy was focus groups and surveys for all levels of the organization—Senior Leadership Team, Program Directors, Operations Leaders and Manager and Staff—to help identify what specific issues may be causing the most common mental health and mental wellness challenges amongst staff and leaders and what resources/supports are needed to help address these challenges.

Toolkit and Leadership Training

This feedback led to the creation and launch of the PHC Staff Mental Health & Mental Wellness Toolkit. The purpose of this toolkit (which is also linked to on the homepage of PHC Connect) is to help foster a workplace that promotes positive mental health and mental wellness and offers staff some of the resources that they need to be well. This is a key priority under the People strategy of the Providence Plan (PHC’s strategic plan). Ultimately, a mentally healthy workplace will lead to improved quality and safety of patient/resident care.

In addition, based on the survey and focus group results, PHC implemented training for leaders to help them effectively respond to their staff’s mental health and mental wellness concerns. To date, eight training sessions have taken place for various levels of leadership, including both clinical and corporate leaders.

This toolkit and leadership training align with the Psychological Support factor, one of the Standards thirteen factors of psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Workload Management and Protection of Physical Safety

PHC has since engaged staff and leaders around which of the 13 Standards to focus on next. Based on this new engagement and the previous focus groups, we have decided to focus on the Workload Management and Protection of Physical Safety factors.

Unlike PHC’s previous work on addressing workload, the new approach is examining beliefs and behaviors, and reflects personal and organization responsibility.

Successful workplace initiatives to reduce workload issues require leadership, commitment, and active participation of all stakeholders. It is also essential that workplaces engage in a structured planning process so that initiatives are based on clearly defined workplace and workforce needs.

To date, we have engaged with multiple leadership groups to better understand their issues as they relate to workload. Over 2017, we will continue and expand this engagement to leaders, staff and medical staff and researchers.

Engagement will help staff identify what is within their control to manage workload and what are the system barriers that prevent them to do so. From here, we will engage staff to develop and adopt personal strategies to manage their own workload and develop recommendations on systemic strategies to better support staff in managing workload.

Our engagement process and next steps around Physical Safety will be shared in future communications.

We will be releasing regular communications as future steps in the process become more concrete and will continue to welcome feedback from all employees.



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