The Working Mind

The Working Mind (TWM) is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting. This training is aimed to: 
  • Improve short-term performance and long-term mental health outcomes
  • Reduce barriers to care and encourage early access to care
  • Provide the tools and resources required to manage and support employees who may be experiencing a mental illness
  • Assist supervisors in maintaining their own mental health as well as promoting positive mental health in their employees

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TWM offers three versions of TWM: one for trainers (five days), one for managers (eight hours), one for employees (four hours). These courses include scenario-based practical applications and custom videos of people with lived experience of mental illness, participant reference guides, and related handouts. Click here to view TWM Fact Sheet.

Employee (4 hour course): Participants are provided with valuable information, skills, tools and resources specific to: 

  • Stigma and barriers to care
  • Health coping strategies
  • Mental toughness
  • The Mental Health Continuum Model, a self-assessment tool with indicators of positive, poor, and declining mental health 
  • To enable continuous learning, booster sessions are also available (1-2hrs in length, focussing on one of the topics from the full course, and facilitated by a certified instructor. Booster sessions are intended only for participants who have taken the initial full course

Manager (8 hour course): In addition to the topics covered in the primary course, leaders acquire tools and skills specific to: 

  • Workplace accommodations and return to work
  • The role of leadership in promoting positive mental health in employees 
  • Ad hoc incident reviews 
  • Early recognition 
    *Booster sessions are also available for participants who have taken the initial full-day Leadership course. 

Train the Trainer (5-day course): This course equips participants with the tools and skills to present both the Employee and Manager versions of TWM. The train-the-trainer course includes: 

  • Background information on mental health 
  • Extensive information on the key concepts of the Employee and Manager course 
  • Structured presentation practice time
  • Evaluation of presentation skills by Master Trainers

Goals

  • To reduce stigma and negative attitudes towards those struggling with poor mental health
  • To provide learners with a broad understanding of mental health and wellness
  • Help participants maintain mental health and improve resilience
  • To promote mental health and wellness in the workplace
  • To provide managers with the confidence, tools and resources to manage and support employees who may be experiencing mental health problems or illness 

Objectives

The course's objective is to give employees/managers the practical knowledge of mental health and mental illness so they can: 

  • Use the mental health continuum to recognize changes in their mental health and that of others
  • Be prepared to use skills to improve their coping and resiliency
  • Reduce both public and self-stigma
  • Be willing to be a part of a supportive workplace

Central Components

  • The Mental Health Continuum Model categorizes one's mental health within a continuum: green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill). The continuum:
    • Allows individuals to identify indicators of declining or pool mental health in themselves, and others (without diagnostic labels and their associated stigma).
    • Stresses that individuals can move along the continuum; if one ends up in the red "ill" phase, he or she can move back towards the green "healthy phase".
    • Teaches the appropriate action one can take for themselves and for others at each point along the continuum.

  • Some of the strategies contained in the program are Cognitive Behaviour Theory-based techniques that help individuals cope with stress and improve their mental health. They include positive self-talk, visualization, diaphragmatic breathing, and proper goal setting.
  • Research indicates that contact-based education is one of the best ways of reducing stigma. The Working Mind includes custom videos of people with mental illnesses describing some of their experiences with mental illness and stigma, as well as those who supported them and their journey to recovery. Click here to read our preliminary evaluations report. 

Upcoming Courses

To view upcoming courses, please click here. If you do not see a course that fits your needs, please contact us at theworkingmind@mentalhealthcommission.ca to discuss other options.

Contact

To learn more about The Working Mind and to ask about course options for your organization, please email: theworkingmind@mentalhealthcommission.ca

Research

Opening Minds in the Workplace: Interim Results of a Mental Health Promotion and Anti-stigma Intervention - The Working Mind

Workplace Antistigma Programs at the Mental Health Commission of Canada: Part 2. Lessons Learned