Issues related to mental health are a growing concern across all segments of society, and its pervasiveness is so great that in any given year one-in-five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. The impact reaches across families, amongst friends and into communities.
The sad reality is that often those who are dealing with mental illness face stigma and isolation. It is with this understanding that at Maple Leaf Foods we have chosen to call our mental health initiative, ‘You Are Not Alone!’
Our intention is that we develop a culture that stops the stigma associated with mental health challenges; where people can be open and transparent, experience understanding, and be provided with an array of resources and support to help them as needed.
To support us in developing our approach, we partnered with one of the world’s top mental health hospitals and research centres Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Working with CAMH, we conducted a needs assessment engaging 140 people from across Maple Leaf Foods locations. Informed by the suggestions offered by this group, as well as through extensive external benchmarking, we have created a comprehensive plan focused on four key areas:
Providing Ease of Access to Effective Supports: Just as people’s mental health challenges differ, so do the treatments and supports they require. As of the end of 2019, we have increased paramedical psychology benefits for all eligible salaried staff and dependents. In 2020, we launched digital counselling platforms that provide a range of support, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Stop the Stigma: We will hold different events to create space for meaningful dialogue and increased understanding across Maple Leaf Foods facilities.
Training and Education: Education and training are key to building a psychologically healthy workplace. Our plan includes mandatory mental health training for all people leaders.
Supporting Accommodation: It is essential that we provide our people with accommodations for their mental health needs in a supportive, consistent manner. Our HR business partners will continue to follow our practices