Almost 50% of Canadian men polled past threshold for serious depression

Landmark study suggests workplace mental health programs not up to scratch

Almost 50% of Canadian men polled past threshold for serious depression

Nearly half of respondents in a recent study on men's mental health at work scored higher than the cutoff for likely serious depression, emphasizing the necessity of more robust mental health care in the workplace.

Spearheaded by HeadsUpGuys, a UBC program, in collaboration with Community Savings Credit Union, the report aims to fill the knowledge gap about workplace variables that affect men's mental health.

Around 75% of suicide deaths in Canada are among men, and for men under 50, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.

Along with the unsettling findings on the depression threshold, one in three participants admitted to having thoughts of suicide or self-harm at least occasionally each week, and 55% expressed loneliness, a significant risk factor for suicide.

Read more: Ontario psychiatrists call for better prevention for youth suicide

“It’s time to take the issue of male suicide out of the shadows and into the spotlight,” said Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, founder of HeadsUpGuys, and Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and Director of the UBC Psychotherapy Program. “This is a serious public health crisis - we need to talk about it and start taking action. The findings of this survey reveal shockingly high levels of suicidal ideation by men in the workplace.”

Almost a quarter of respondents in the study reported that they were going through unbearable psychological suffering and could feel themselves breaking down.

The report suggested some key strategies for employers to adopt for their employees’ mental health in the workplace – which can be applied to all employees, not just men – including:

  • including mental health self-assessment tools in routine employee check-ins
  • instruction in recognizing indicators of distress for managers and supervisors
  • educating staff members about mental health practices and available resources
  • integrating mental health services to wellness and safety initiatives on a regular basis

“Mental health in the workplace is an integral part of worker well-being. While many workplaces have embraced physical health and safety measures - think hard hats and steel toed boots, or even ergonomic desk set-ups - the same attention has not been paid to mental health,” Mike Schilling, president and CEO of Community Savings Credit Union, said.

Read more: Canadian workers report 18th straight month of mental strain

“The workplace provides organizational infrastructure and frameworks that can be used to support mental health and well-being strategies, shaping workplace norms that reduce stigma and facilitate help-seeking, issues that have been well-documented as factors that impact men’s access to mental health services,” Dr. Ogrodniczuk added.