Mental health matters. Not just at home behind closed doors and curtained windows. It matters at school, at play, and at work. And if you need a business case in order to prioritize mental health in the workplace, Morneau Sheppell has calculated the business ‘cost of doing nothing’ – mental health issues cost Canadian businesses up to $1494 per employee per year.
Healthy minds at work is something we value and place high priority on at Sklar Wilton & Associates. Respect for mental health is baked into the fabric of our company. It’s something we hire for, and something we actively strive to support. We purposefully walk the talk.
Part of walking the talk means that we have a Whole Person Wellness Program that focuses not just on physical health, but also on mental health.
Spirit 32: We offer regular mind, body, and spirit learning opportunities through our Spirit 32 initiatives. Past training modules have included mindfulness, naturopathic remedies, nutrition and stress management, brain health, energy management, personal purpose and goal setting, retirement/savings planning, financial planning, and minimalism. We provided an 8-week mindfulness course and a 16-week meditation series.
Speakers: We have invited mental health professionals to speak to our entire team about mental health issues including Carlos Esteves from Morneau Shepell and Dr Eilenna Denisoff, Founding Director of CBT Associates.
Mental Health Training: We have regularly scheduled mental health training sessions that every associate attends. We also offer extra booster sessions for people who wish to learn more.
The POD: We’ve created a special room where associates can take a mental break. Called The Place of Discovery (POD), this room can be used to relax and take a break from professional or personal stressors. Turn on the candles and noise machine, dim the lights, and let everything go while resting on the over-stuffed cushions. We also encourage internal meetings in this room because its zen-like environment can be inspiring.
Engagement Survey: Once each year, we launch our internal engagement survey to take a pulse of the company. We listen to every associate to learn what improvements are necessary to help everyone thrive and succeed. This survey helps us choose guest speakers, create training programs, and improve how we deliver our programs to be most helpful.
As many companies do, we always have a good selection of healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, and fruit on hand. But physical health is about more than snacking. We have daily movement challenges, and our meetings regularly include movement breaks. When meetings or workshops are planned for the entire day, we often bring in yoga instructors to provide a fitness break. We also have a yoga instructor visit our office every month and everyone is welcome to join the 1-hour session.
We offer associates flexible work hours and vacation days so they are better able to support family members who need care whether that’s children, parents, or someone else. To accommodate personal schedules, including health and medical appointments, or when people simply need a change of scenery, our associates can choose to work from home.
Several of our leaders attended Morneau Shepell’s Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ certificate program to improve their understanding of relevant legal, ethical and business concerns, and to support the development of empathetic and solution-focused leadership skills.
With the loss of our founder, Luke Sklar, we experienced major setbacks. But there is still so much to be grateful for. In addition to their own personal volunteer work, our associates come together every year to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC). In support of their annual Light the Night walk, we run numerous fund raising events to help the LLSC find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. Past events have included a Chili Cook-Off, Mac ‘N’ Cheese Throwdown, and yoga classes with BeHot Yoga.
And of course, our biggest Give Back event is our new Canada-wide Headway program. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Headway is a new movement to help companies across Canada create workplaces that embrace mental health best practices. Our goal is for more Canadian companies to have proactive mental health philosophies and practices, a cultural evolution for many companies. You can learn more about the program on the Headway LinkedIn page.
The kick-off Headway event on May 13, 2019 will feature Michael Landsberg from The Sports Network and #SickNotWeak, Paula Allen from Morneau Shepell, John Carinci from RBC Insurance, Mike Serbinis from League.com, Laurie McCann from the Toronto Police Service, Dr. Bill Howatt from The Conference Board of Canada, Craig Kramer from Johnson & Johnson, comedians and mental health advocates Colin Mochrie and Jessica Holmes, Author of “Depression The Comedy,” and Chantal Kreviazuk, singer/songwriter and producer of a documentary about mental health.
We are grateful to numerous corporate sponsors including Molson Coors, Dig Insights, Morneau Shepell, Mars Canada, Sobeys Inc., Canopy Growth, our travel partners The Four Seasons and WestJet, and other anonymous donors.