Workers Health & Safety Centre

Workplace mental health: New research and special May training offer

Workplaces have responded to worker mental health concerns with numerous popular wellness programs, but new research finds most do little to benefit workers.

The study’s author suggests their common failure is the lack of workplace control strategies that proactively target the source of mental injury and illness.

Conducted by the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford the research examined mental health interventions by analyzing data from Britain's Healthiest Workplace (BHW) 2017 and 2018 surveys of 46,336 workers in 233 organizations. To supplement their findings, they also reviewed the existing body of literature on the topic.

The study found most workplace well-being interventions focused on the individual and included resilience and stress management training, sleep apps, relaxation and mindfulness classes, and time management training. It further reported:
  • No difference for participants of wellness programs compared to non-participants.
  • Little evidence to support the benefits of individual-level interventions and some indication of poorer well-being for participants in resilience and stress management training.

The study author acknowledges these findings, “…. pose a challenge to the popularity and legitimacy of individual-level mental well-being interventions….” By way of explanation the author suggests that behaviour-based interventions fail to address the jobs demands and job resources primarily responsible for poor worker well-being including overwork and inadequate support by supervisors and managers. The evidence instead suggests, “Organisational interventions, such as changes to scheduling, management practices, staff resources, performance review or job design appear more beneficial for improving well-being.”


Creating safe and healthy workplaces

Safe and healthy work can be achieved by changing the workplace not the worker. In aid of this, and in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, WHSC is discounting the following programs for the month of May:
  • Critical Incident and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychosocial Hazards and Workplace Mental Health
  • Stress in the Workplace
  • Workplace Violence and Harassment.

Ontario employers, in addition to their general duties, have specific legal obligations to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and program(s) and must provide their workers with information and training on the content of both.

From other research evidence we know that workplace interventions can lead to better psychosocial working conditions and positively impact mental health at work.

As Ontario’s official occupational health and safety training centre WHSC’s workplace mental health training programs help meet legal obligations, support safe and healthy workplaces, and promote worker well-being.


Workplace mental health resources:
WHSC Workplace Mental Health training
WHSC Workplace Violence Resources
OHCOW - Workplace Mental Health
Employee well‐being outcomes from individual‐level mental health interventions: Cross‐sectional evidence from the United Kingdom - Fleming - 2024 - Industrial Relations Journal - Wiley Online Library
Harassment at work rising, marginalized groups suffering most
Combat psychosocial hazards with workplace training and solutions
Workplace interventions key to worker mental well-being, study finds

Need more information?
Contact a WHSC training services representative in your area.
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