Mental Health at Work

Hello, my name is Uduak Cletus one of the current coop students of Addiction and Mental Health at Cambrian College, Sudbury. I began with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology, which provided me with a strong foundation in understanding human behavior and societal dynamics. Following that, I spent seven years in the business sector, where I honed my skills in leadership, communication, and problem-solving initiative.
During that time, I also volunteered at Data Medical Centre, where I discovered my passion for caring for people and supporting them through some Mental Health challenges. This experience inspired me to further my knowledge in addiction and mental health, leading me to pursue the course I am currently enrolled in.
Through my diverse experiences in business and volunteering, I have developed a unique blend of interpersonal skills, empathy, and a deep understanding of human behavior, which I believe are invaluable in the field of addiction and mental health.  Today, I have brought this diverse skills set to Sudbury Workers Centre to make a meaningful impact in supporting individuals on their journey to recovery from Mental Health issues and abuse of their rights at the workplace.
Now, let’s delve into the issues of Mental Health at work and see how this post will be relevant to workers out there.

The stress of dealing with mental health and addiction problems is already tough but, in a situation whereby an individual is navigating both the work challenges and the mental health issue, it could be way worse. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), work can be a setting which could amplify wider issues that negatively affect mental health, including discrimination and inequality based on other factors. WHO also posits that people with severe mental health conditions are more likely to be excluded from employment and where they are employed, they are more likely to experience inequality at work. Knowing your rights in this case would be beneficial to you as it would provide you with the support you need. This is why it is very vital, to strike a balance between the individual’s mental health and their workspace.


Why Knowing Your Rights is Key

You would be safe from discrimination: There are some laws which protect employees from discrimination depending on their mental health and addiction problem. These laws set will protect you from being treated differently just because of your mental health issue. These laws include Ontario Human Rights Code and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, these mental health issues are disabilities protected under this code. They also ensure that accommodations required are provided.

It improves one’s access to Resources: In many companies currently, counseling, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other services/accommodations are offered. If one can understand their rights, then they would easily accept these resources without the fear of being discriminated or even stigmatized against.

It would create a supportive environment for workers: If the employees truly know their rights and they are also made to feel supported in the company, then they would feel more included, which would make the company more productive. It would boost their morale and generally make their mental health improve.


Personal Stories

I have a friend with anxiety. Her story and experience will feel familiar to many. This friend of mine had newly begun working in an organization and she refused to tell anyone about her issue, thinking that she would probably be treated differently because of it. A day came one of her colleagues experienced a panic attack and she was catered for then eventually recovered with the help of the company. That scenario made her aware that she was not the only one that faced such. That made her to tell the company and she also received some accommodations, and she is still currently being well cared for due to the supportive nature of her organization. This experience has truly shown me that the knowledge of rights is necessary because if her colleague did not know her rights, she wouldn’t have been inspired to seek for care. It also made them to improve in their productivity in their organization.


The Impacts on Society

Reduced Stigmatization: If the topic of mental health is openly discussed, which includes informing them of the facts, educating people on how to relate with such individuals and making these individuals feels more included, then stigma would surely be reduced. As part of reducing the stigma, the organization should always be supportive of people with mental health issues. This may include providing flexible working arrangements, or implementing frameworks to deal with violence or harassment at work.

Encouragement of early identification and intervention: If proper awareness and education is provided then these individuals know earlier and even discover earlier, thereby they would be able to identify the issue earlier and begin treatment early too. If it is intervened earlier, then it would prevent it from worsening over time. It would prevent a long-term impact on the employees’ lives and careers.

It would promote the well-being of the individual: If the organization is able to support the recovery of the mental health and addiction issue then it would improve the wellbeing of the employee. Wellbeing in the aspect of their physical, social wellbeing and even in their workplace.

Action to be taken by Employees.

Self-Education: Make the laws and protections of your country or region be made known to you in the aspect of mental health and addictions. Be aware of and understand your rights and know the accommodations and services that are available to you. The Human Rights Code of Ontario protects you. You are allowed to ask for accommodations in the workplace for mental health needs.

Seek for Support: Inquire to your employer or human resources department to make your needs or requirements known. Many organizations currently have accommodations and policies which are in support of individual with mental health issues.

Make use of Resources: Those resources that have been made available or put in place like, counseling services and support groups, you are to take advantage of them. They are put in place to help you to navigate and get through your challenges, you will also get to improve your wellbeing.

Develop a Support Network: You should be able to connect with people who are able to encourage and support you emotionally through your issues, people such as your colleagues, family members and friends. Having this support group by your side improves your journey towards recovery. Their presence would be able to strengthen you through it.

Push For Change in Your Organization: If there is presence of any faults in mental health facilities in your organization or if there are essential mental health facilities that your organization lacks, then you encourage the change of policy in your organization.

You should work alongside with your colleagues to promote a more supportive and comprehensive environment.


To conclude, know that the understanding of your right in the aspect of mental health and addiction is very vital both for you as an individual and for the society at large. If we can engage in self-education and education of others, then we can make our environment a more understanding and productive work environment. Even if you don’t have a mental health issue, the availability of care affects everyone in the organizations. Never feel alone in your journey because there are resources and help there but you must first be aware or your right as one with mental health issues.