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The impact of mental illness on Canadian society is immense. Along with immeasurable social costs, business costs are estimated at over $50-billion a year, calling for business leaders to create workplaces that honour and respect human strengths and vulnerabilities.

Great Place to Work research shows that organizations with strong mental wellness cultures not only have happier, healthier employees – they also experience numerous business benefits, including greater employee engagement, stronger teams and a climate that fosters innovation and adaptability, which translates into better customer service and a stronger brand.

“Our current research suggests that trusting relationships at work lay the foundation for mentally healthy workplaces, and there is no aspect of the workplace that is unaffected by trust,” says Alison Grenier, head of culture and research at Great Place to Work. “We have examined the key relationships between workplace trust and mental wellness, and based on this research, have provided concrete tips for creating more trusting relationships at work.”

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Great Place to Work has created an employer guide (available at to assist organizations that are looking to advance workplace mental wellness in an integrated and holistic way.

“For organizations committed to developing mental wellness at work, this commitment must be backed up with action,” suggests Ms. Grenier. “Start the mental wellness conversation in your organization. Put workplace mental wellness on your strategic agenda. Back it up with a budget. Introduce mental wellness initiatives that make sense in your work environment.

“And above all, remember that mental wellness does not exist in a bubble – it must be built on a foundation of mutual trust, respect and fairness.”

Research shows that when organizations have a strong foundation of trust supported by formal policies, informal practices and behavioural expectations that specifically foster mental wellness, the result is a mentally healthy, high-trust workplace that empowers employees to do their best work.

“We are entering a new frontier in business; one that is about developing every ounce of human potential,” says Ms. Grenier. “In an economy that is now based on human qualities like connectivity, innovation and collaboration, organizations need to focus on and foster mentally healthy workplaces, so all employees can bring their creativity, passion and best ideas to work.”

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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