A large proportion of an individual's waking hours are spent at work. However, almost half of all Canadians say their job is the most stressful part of their day (Government of Canada, 2016). In a survey by the MHCC and Morneau Shepell (2018), 70% of respondents indicated that work affects their mental health. Furthermore, 78% of respondents indicated that mental health challenges were a top reason for missing work (MHCC & Morneau Shepell, 2018). Mind Share Partners (2019) also found that 61% of respondents have had their workplace productivity impacted by their mental health.
A new approach to providing sustainable mental health support and prevention of more serious mental and physical illnesses is required. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have produced some relief, however the results are not long-standing, nor sustainable.
While there are many interventions already in place to respond to mental health challenges, very few are focused on preventing these challenges from occurring at both an individual and organizational level. Although programming that responds to mental health challenges is important, Deloitte (2019) recommends also investing in proactive programs that prevent mental health concerns from arising by promoting psychological wellness.
Workplaces often attempt to promote wellness using digital interventions and workplace-wide workshops, as these tend to be cost effective options. However, in their meta-analysis on the effectiveness of various workplace interventions, the American Heart Association (2019) found that individual-level stress management interventions have the greatest impact on overall mental health, as well as depression, anxiety and stress levels. Conversely, physician activity and digital interventions were much less effective (American Heart Association, 2019, p. 53). This suggests that workplaces could benefit from implementing individual-level mental health interventions.
Research suggests that health coaching can improve mental health among participants, however no robust programs currently exist that train coaching in the complexities of organizational mental health. The Nickerson Institute's Corporate Integrative Health Coach Training Program (CIHCTP) provides an innovation, effective solution to this issue.
The program provides the intensive mental health coach training to specific employees throughout the organization (such as management, personnel administration, or other key employees). Those employees, once certified in the CIHC program, are able to deliver effective in-house mental health coaching, following an integrative model with a focus on motivational interviewing, nutrition for brain health, and cognitive-behavioral coaching strategies to promote employee wellness, focus, and concentration. A mindfulness component also focuses on resilience and self-care to prevent issues like burnout and anxiety. Finally, the program trains coaches to be familiar with organizational and interpersonal issues, such as cultural sensitivity, compassion, spirituality, and the cohesive of multiple generations.
*Upon completion of the CIHC program, you are eligible to apply for the credential of Board Certified Health Coach.
The principle instructor of this program is Dr. Wendy Nickerson, founder of the Nickerson Institute for Integrative Health Training, Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Canada and the United States, university instructor to graduate students in Counselling Education and Behavioral Health Sciences, and author of “Wild Women Never Get The Blues”.
Being employed as a Fitness for Duty Psychologist in large healthcare organizations, I have witnessed the struggles of health care providers who are dedicated to helping others, yet are working in unprecedented stressful and toxic environments that produce moral, emotional, and sometimes physical injury.
Providing organizational development training for a wide range of industries has provided clarity into the innovative measures that are required to make these cultural workplace shifts. It begins with raising human thought and consciousness at all levels of the organizational hierarchy — top down reprocessing, both at the individual and organizational levels. Mental health is the cornerstone for developing higher levels of consciousness and human functioning.
Clearly a new paradigm for fostering mental health and wellness in the workplace is needed, so I initiated a scopic research review to determine how to best handle the epidemic of mental suffering in the workplace. The Corporate Integrative Health Coach Training Program (CIHCTP) has been developed to reflect these research findings. Employees need individualized preventative and self-recovery care, in a safe and non-stigmatized environment, with someone who is educated in mental health and who also has an understanding of the dynamics of the organization.