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The estimated societal and economic costs of mental illness and psychological injury in the workplace is staggering. Governments, employers and other stakeholders have been searching for policy solutions. This qualitative, exploratory study sought to uncover organizational receptivity to a voluntary comprehensive standard for dealing with psychological health and safety in the workplace. A series of five focus groups were conducted in a large Western Canadian city in November 2013. The seventeen participants were from the fields of healthcare, construction/utilities, manufacturing industries, business services, and finance. They worked in positions of management, consulting, human resources, health promotion, health and safety, mediation, and occupational health and represented organizations ranging in size from 20 to 100,000 employees. The findings confirm and illustrate the critical role that psychological health and safety plays across workplaces and occupations. This standard resonated across the represented organizations and fit with their values. This alignment posed challenges with articulating its added value. There appears to be a need for simplified engagement and implementation strategies of the standard that can be tailored to the nuanced differences between types and sizes of industries. It appears that organizations in the most need of improving psychological health and safety may be the least receptive.
Journal: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry - Volume 44, January–February 2016, Pages 41–47