Employers can’t ignore the impact their workers’ mental health is having.

A recent survey of workers shows that nearly two in five Canadian adults took time off work in the past five years because of mental health challenges. Of those, nearly half were absent for a month or more.

From the Toronto Star: “Disability claims stemming from mental health issues now account for 70 per cent of workplace disability costs, the study reported, representing the fastest-growing type of benefits claim in the country. Annually, mental health disabilities and related absences are estimated to cost the Canadian economy $50 billion.”

The study suggests that “more comprehensive, flexible and inclusive benefit programs are needed.” Indeed, ICBA Benefits – which has more than 150,000 Canadians on one of our benefit plans – reports an uptick in both health and wellness spending accounts, as employers deal with these issues more proactively (if you’d like to learn about offering HSAs and WSAs, contact our team at sales@icbabenefits.ca).

Mental health concerns aren’t going away – and we all need to find ways to help our employees and colleagues.

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 100 companies and more than 10,000 construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out icba.ca/wellness for details.