(by Staff, Benefits Canada)
There’s a new online tool to help employers improve mental health in the workplace.
“Managing Emotions” was developed by mental health researchers and commissioned by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace; it provides an assessment of emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to deal with other people’s emotions and reactions, to understand and manage your own reactions, and to communicate effectively—skills that are crucial for maintaining a psychologically healthy workplace.
The launch is timely for Canadian employers, following the federal government’s announcement in June to fund the creation of the voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, expected to be released in summer 2012. Once completed, the voluntary standard will provide organizations with tools to achieve measurable improvement in psychological health and safety for Canadian employees.
According to Statistics Canada (2003), approximately 20% of Canadian workers experience a stress-related illness every year, and it has been estimated that 10% of the Canadian working population have a diagnosable mental illness, resulting in billions of dollars every year in workplace losses.
Mary Ann Baynton, program director for the Centre for Mental Health, said Managing Emotions can help employers that are committed to improving and enhancing the psychological health of their workplaces in advance of the standard’s release.
“Managing Emotions can be used in pre- and post-testing of managers’ emotional intelligence skills, particularly in the area of recognizing and responding to emotional distress of their employees in their workplaces,” Baynton said. “The degree of success is directly related to their personal level of commitment to hone their emotional intelligence skills.”
“Managers and supervisors at all levels who use Managing Emotions may be helped to improve their ability to be effective in understanding and managing other people’s emotions in the workplace,” said Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych., organizational and media consultant and principal developer of the resource. “Further, they will be better able to understand what’s happening to a person who is distressed and to develop practical strategies to help manage that distress.”
The tool includes an assessment that takes about 15 minutes to complete, and results are returned to the user immediately. For those who wish to improve their results, interactive learning resources such as key strategies, exercises and video-based training options are provided. No identifying data are collected or stored in the tool.
Managing Emotions is available online at gwlcentreformentalhealth.com/mmhm/managingemotions.aspx.