Mental Health Leaves Most Costly Disability to Canadian Employers

Mental illness is associated with more lost work days than any other chronic condition, costing the Canadian economy $51 billion annually in lost productivity. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have calculated the actual cost of mental health leave and found that on average it's double the cost of a leave for a physical illness.

The study, published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, looked at data tracking the short-term disability leave of 33, 913 full-time employees in Ontario. Results showed that the cost to a company for a single employee on a short-term disability leave due to mental health concerns totals nearly $18,000.

Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of CAMH's Work and Well-being Research and Evaluation Program and lead investigator on the study, notes the disproportionate cost to employers when compared to other disabilities. "In an average year, a firm with 1,000 employees might expect about 145 disability cases. Of this, only a fraction are on disability due to mental illness, yet it costs employers the most." Disability leaves due to physical illness cost nearly half of that for a leave due to mental illness.

Health and wellness interventions may hold the key to maintaining a healthy workforce and reducing costs. "We know that mental health triggers in the workplace can lead to disability—things like stress, casual and part-time work, and uncertain economic conditions can really take a toll on workers—especially if there is a pre-existing mental health condition," Dewa said. "And while it is important to support workers that are on disability leave, it is crucial that businesses make mental health and wellness a priority to prevent disability in the first place."

Dewa suggests that implementing a continuum of care and support is an effective way of reducing the likelihood that an employee has to take a disability leave. She adds that programs emphasizing a healthy work-life balance, supports to help cope with stress, and access to physical fitness make people better workers and help sustain health.

Product Showcase

  • Safety Knives

    The Safety Knife Company has developed a quality range of safety knives for all industries. Designed so that fingers cannot get to the blades, these knives will safely cut through cardboard, tape, strapping, shrink or plastic wrap or a variety of other packing materials. Because these knives have no exposed blades and only cut cardboard deep, they will not only protect employees against lacerations but they will also save product. The Metal Detectable versions have revolutionary metal detectable polypropylene knife bodies specifically for the food and pharmaceutical industries. This material can be detected and rejected by typical detection machines and is X-ray visible. 3

  • HAZ LO HEADLAMPS

    With alkaline or rechargeable options, these safety rated, Class 1, Div. 1 Headlamps provide long runtime with both spot and flood options in the same light. Work safely and avoid trip hazards with flexible hands-free lighting from Streamlight. 3

  • Glove Guard® Clip

    Safety should never be compromised, especially when it comes to proper glove usage. The Glove Guard® clip enhances safety by encouraging employees to keep their gloves with them at all times. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries on the job. By ensuring everyone has their gloves readily available, we help promote a culture of safety and efficiency. The Glove Guard® clip is designed to withstand the toughest work environments. Constructed from robust materials made in the USA, it can endure extreme conditions, including harsh weather, and rigorous activities. 3

Featured

Webinars