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LifeWorks Mental Health Index

By George Waggott, founder, and Roberto Fonseca-Velazquez, summer law student,

George Waggott Law

As most employees are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the salience of mental

and physical health issues in the workplace. TELUS Health (formerly LifeWorks) collects data on the mental health of employees and publishes a “Mental Health Index”. According to the TELUS Health website, this Mental Health Index “provides a measure of mental health, related work productivity, and the issues that make a difference to both.” The results of the Mental Health Index are made available to anyone for free and has permitted employers to gain a new level of insight into employee mental health. The website also notes that the results can also help predict cost and productivity risks while evidencing the need for investments into mental health by business and government.

The way the Mental Health Index works in Canada is that LifeWorks collects the data through an online survey of 3,000 Canadian adults who are employed or were employed in the last six months. The survey is completed by the same 3,000 Canadian adults each month in an attempt to eliminate any sampling bias. The scores are created by assigning a point value to every question - the higher the number, the better mental health results for each person. All numbers are added together and divided by a total number of possible points to get a percentage out of 100. This data is then benchmarked against previously collected data. These results are then combined to create the Mental Health Index, which is published each month.

The Mental Health Index is further broken down into sub-scores including optimism, general psychological health, financial risk, managers compared to non-managers, demographics, employment, and emergency savings. The survey then moves onto a “Spotlight” section where each month the surveys asks in depth questions that vary each month.

Overall, the Mental Health Index provides useful information each month that reflects the current state of the Canadian workforce. Employers are encouraged to review the Mental Health Index monthly as a tool for promoting conversations with employees on their mental health or as a reference tool when implementing workplace changes.

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