MAY 2, 2023

TELUS Health’s Mental Health Index reveals two in five workers in Canada have experienced trauma with lasting impact on mental health

Productivity scores remain worrisome as 50 per cent of workers reporting they felt disorganized over the past month and 42 per cent struggled to start or finish important tasks.

TORONTO - TELUS Health (formerly LifeWorks), today released its monthly Mental Health Index revealing two in five workers in Canada have experienced a traumatic event that has had a lasting impact on their mental health. The Index also identified productivity concerns with 50 per cent of workers reporting that they have felt disorganized over the past month and 42 per cent saying they have struggled to start or finish important tasks.

The Index found that workers in Canada continue to experience strained mental health, despite rebounding in March.

  • Following a sharp decline in February, the overall Mental Health Index score for March 2023 is 64.3, up 1.4 points from last month.

According to the Index, 18 per cent of those surveyed reported they do not have someone they can turn to in times of distress and are reported as having a mental health score of 14 points lower than the national average.

Half of workers who have experienced a traumatic event say that the impact is significant to this day

  • Women are 50 per cent more likely than men to have experienced a traumatic event.

  • Employees under 40 are 60 per cent more likely than employees over 50 to report significant impact of the traumatic experience that has had a lasting negative effect on their mental health.

  • The mental health score of workers who have experienced a traumatic event that has had a lasting negative impact on their mental health is more than 11 points lower than the national average and more than 18 points lower than those who have not experienced a traumatic event.

Workers in Canada report that their family, friends, co-workers and managers tend to perceive their mental health as better than how they experience it themselves

  • Workers who believe no one perceives their mental health as they do or are unsure how others do, have a mental health score four points below the national average.

  • Approximately one-third of workers who self-assess as having poor mental health (with a rating of 1 or 2 out of 5) believe their friends, family, coworkers and managers perceive their mental health to be strong (with a rating of 4 or 5 out of 5).

  • Employees who self-report their mental health as being in crisis, and who believe their family, friends, managers and co-workers would report the same, have a productivity score 37 points lower than the national score.

Comments from TELUS Health Chief Growth Officer, Juggy Sihota

“The extent to which personal trauma impacts one’s career is significantly underestimated and this mental weight can be a real barrier to personal and professional growth if not addressed properly. When employers educate employees about the internal health resources available to them, like an Employee Assistance Program, barriers to care can be broken down and workers learn that they can count on their workplace for the support they need. The result is a productive and healthy workforce where employees thrive in their responsibilities while staying physically and mentally fit.”

Comments from TELUS Health Global Leader, Research & Client Insights, Paula Allen

“As we work to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the Canadian workforce are well supported, it is important to understand the range of lived experience people have. Many workers have difficulty keeping organized, completing tasks and taking in new information. These challenges can be the result of trauma-induced anxiety, depression, emotional distraction, ADHD, long-term alcohol use or other issues. No one needs to accept such challenges. The good news is that coaching and counselling can be very effective tools in stopping this cycle and improving one’s overall health.”

The full Canadian Mental Health Index report can be found here. This report includes additional insights on employees’ self-esteem, productivity and efficiency, mental health perception and more.

About the Mental Health Index

The survey by TELUS Health was conducted through an online survey in English and French from March 6 to 13, 2023 with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflects this population.

The Mental Health Index is based on a response scoring system that then turns individual responses into point values. Higher point values are associated with better mental health and less mental health risk. Scores between 0 to 49 correspond with distress levels, scores between 50 to 79 correspond with strain levels and scores between 80 to 100 correspond with optimal levels of mental health.

About TELUS Health

TELUS Health is a global health care leader serving people in more than 160 countries delivering both digital innovation and clinical services to improve total physical, mental and financial health and wellness across the full spectrum of primary and preventive care. By leveraging the power of technology to deliver connected solutions and services both in-person and virtually, TELUS Health is improving access to care and revolutionizing the flow of information while facilitating collaboration, efficiency, and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied health care professionals, insurers, employers and people globally, progressing its vision of transforming health care and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Our clinical team is composed of renowned and passionate health professionals around the world delivering best-in-class people-centric care to hundreds of thousands of employers, professionals and their families.

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Media contact:

Jill Yetman
TELUS Media Relations
[email protected]