There is no health without mental health.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) recently reported 70% of Canadian workers are concerned about the psychological health and safety in their workplaces and that workplace stress is one of the primary causes of workers’ mental health problems. Not only is taking steps to improve the psychological health and safety of workplaces the right thing to do, it also helps reduce injuries and illnesses, improves creativity and morale, produces more efficient risk management, and supports a culture of organizational excellence.

The Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was created to help organizations recognize psychological health and safety as part of their ongoing commitment to continuous improvement. Grounded in research and stakeholder consultation, the Standard is for everyone, regardless of whether they live with a mental illness or not.

Shifting over 100 years of existing occupational health and safety policies, practices, and programs to include mental health is no easy task! The Standard outlines 13 psychosocial factors to help organizations uncover areas of strength and opportunities for targeted action. Where areas of concern are identified, this preventative approach directs organizations to consider measures to reduce harm or eliminate the hazard.

Healthcare environments have their own unique rewards, as well as uniquely complex challenges and stressors. Healthcare systems are changing rapidly. Keeping up with advances in technology, shifting patient expectations, the risk of violence and harm, as well as the COVID pandemic and local health and environmental emergencies, is a lot to contend with.

Meeting the needs of people working in healthcare settings has a direct and positive impact on the quality of care delivered. People working in the healthcare sector are more likely to miss work due to illness or injury than other sectors. They are also more likely to experience high rates of fatigue, burn out, and sleep deprivation. That impacts their health, safety, and mental wellbeing as well as their colleagues and patients, residents, and clients.

It is time to make preventing psychological injury and promoting mental health a priority in healthcare.

Factors that impact healthcare settings: protection from Moral Distress and support for Psychological Selfcare.

Through consultation with healthcare organizations across the country, the MHCC and HealthCareCAN defined two additional factors that impact healthcare settings: protection from Moral Distress and support for Psychological Selfcare.

Universal Psychosocial Factors of the Standard:

  • Organizational Culture

  • Psychological & Social Support

  • Clear Leadership & Expectations

  • Civility & Respect

  • Psychological Demands

  • Growth & Development

  • Recognition & Reward

  • Involvement & Influence

  • Workload Management

  • Engagement

  • Balance

  • Psychological Protection

  • Protection of Physical Safety


Health: a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing, not merely in the absence of disease or infirmity.

Psychological health (also known as mental health, mental wellbeing, wellbeing): A state of wellbeing where the person realizes their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to their community.

Psychological safety: The absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental wellbeing a worker might experience.

Psychological health and safety workplace: A workplace that promote worker psychological wellbeing and actively works to prevent harm to work psychological health including negligent, reckless or intentional ways.