News / Edmonton

Workers stressing out on the prairies: Poll

Alberta among the highest provinces when it comes to stress in the workplace, according to a new survey

Rob Beintema/Metroland / File

The prairies seem to be lagging when it comes to mental health supports in the workplace.

A new survey from Morneau Shepell found 88 per cent of workers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 80 per cent in Alberta, feel their employer “should take a more active role in supporting distressed employees.”

By comparison, that number is at 71 per cent in Ontario, 67 per cent in Quebec and 69 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

“I do know a lot of the language around workplace mental health we’re seeing across the country, we are seeing a little bit less of it in the prairie provinces to date,” said Paula Allen, VP of research and integrative solution at Morneau Shepell.

Allen will speak at the seventh annual Employers Connect Workplace Mental Health Summit at the Westin Hotel next Thursday.

While she said she is not sure what's causing added stress on the prairies, other jurisdictions in Canada tend to pay more attention to workplace mental health and have more “catalyst employers” who talk to other employers about mental health issues.

Alberta employees were the fourth most likely to report high levels of stress at work (36 per cent), behind Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The least stressed workers were in Quebec, B.C. and the territories (29 per cent).

Overall, workplace stress is increasing across Canada.

Allen said employers can help by offering mental health screening surveys in the workplace, making online counseling available, and mitigating organizational changes and other undue stresses.

“If it isn’t absolutely necessary but will create a stressful situation or will create harm, then really think twice about moving forward,” she said.

“It’s not just about the people with clinical mental health issues, it’s about making sure everybody can stay as healthy as possible and as productive as possible.”

The survey polled 1,510 Canadians between Aug. 28 and Sept. 7, 2017.

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