Nearly half of Canadian men surveyed score above threshold for probable major depression, landmark study finds
- New report addresses a fundamental gap in men’s mental health research and identifies workplace factors that contribute to poor mental health for men.
- Nearly half of respondents were above the threshold for probable major depression, pointing to a continued crisis in men’s mental health.
- Depression is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide, the second leading cause of death for men under 50.
- One in three working Canadian men reported experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-injury at least a few times a week.
- Mental health measures at work - where men spend the majority of their time - are woefully behind physical safety measures. The report highlights actions for workplaces to support mental health.
October 24, 2022 (Vancouver/ Unceded Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations) A new report on men’s mental health in the workplace finds that nearly half of respondents scored above the threshold for probable major depression. The report, which was released today, highlights the need for stronger mental health support in workplaces.
The report, led by HeadsUpGuys, a program of UBC, in partnership with Community Savings Credit Union, sets out to address the gap in research on workplace factors that contribute to poor mental health for men. In Canada, men account for roughly 75% of suicide deaths, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for men under 50.
In addition to the concerning results regarding the depression threshold, 1 in 3 participants reported experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-injury at least a few times a week and 55% reported being lonely, a key risk factor for suicide. Alarmingly, nearly 1 in 4 of those surveyed said they were experiencing psychological pain so intolerable that they could feel themselves falling apart.
The report identifies key actions employers should implement. A short list includes:
- Integrating mental health self-check tools into regular employee check-ins
- Training for managers / supervisors to identify signs of distress
- Regularly promoting mental health practices and making resources known to employees
- Consistently linking mental health with wellness and safety programs
While the report is based on responses from employees who identify as men, the recommended prevention strategies for supporting mental health in the workplace are applicable to all employees
Mike Schilling, President and CEO of Community Savings Credit Union, said:
“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.
We are calling for employers to actively fill the gaps in their workplace mental health programs to support employees’ psychological wellness. In direct response to the research, we are launching #RenameSickDays, changing the name to ‘health days’ to encourage employees to see their health beyond just physical health and proactively support their mental health. We aim to reduce the harmful stigma of talking about mental health in the workplace.”
Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, founder of HeadsUpGuys, Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and Director of the UBC Psychotherapy Program, said:
“It’s time to take the issue of male suicide out of the shadows and into the spotlight. 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. 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.”
Visit healthdaysforall.ca for the full report and recommendations for your workplace, and a how-to to rename ‘sick days’ as ‘health days’.
In a crisis situation, call 911 if there is an immediate concern of someone you know or work with acting on their thoughts of suicide. The BC Crisis Centre (1-800-SUICIDE) offers crisis support. Further resources for men’s mental health are available at headsupguys.org.
About the study:
- The study period was June 25, 2021 to February 28, 2022.
- Eligibility requirements included being at least 18 years of age, having online access, being able to read and understand English, self-identifying as male, and residing and currently working in Canada.
- The 148-item survey consisted of standardized, validated measures along with questions about demographic and job information.
- The survey included a total of 1,450 participants.
About Community Savings:
Community Savings Credit Union is driven by its purpose to unite working people to build a just world. As BC’s largest fully unionized credit union, Community Savings provides best-in-class personal and business banking and advocates for workers’ rights and mental health.
Community Savings operates seven branches across the Lower Mainland and Victoria. It lives by its labour values, from being the first financial institution to become a Living Wage employer in 2010 to winning the 2022 BCBusiness Business of Good Workplace Wellness Award for its innovative staff wellness programs. For more about Community Savings, visit www.comsavings.com.
HeadsUpGuys is a program of The University of British Columbia (UBC), operating under the leadership of Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, who is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of the Psychotherapy Program at UBC.
Our team of clinicians, researchers, and mental health advocates bring together their expertise and personal experiences to provide you with this unique resource.
HeadsUpGuys is located at UBC’s Vancouver Campus, on the traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.
HeadsUpGuys, launched in 2015, is a free global resource, with over 3,000,000 visits from countries around the world. Operational costs of HeadsUpGuys are funded exclusively through donations from the public.