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Mental health in the workplace

Leading mental health practices

Since team members spend so much time on the job, one of the most important places to address mental health is in the workplace. At Bell, we believe taking care of the mental health of our team members is essential to their personal success and to our organization’s ongoing progress. Accordingly, we continue to develop and implement leading mental health practices in the workplace in a variety of ways. We educate team members through our best-in-class training programs, support them through the Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and create awareness through communication and engagement activities. Our commitment is stated in our mental health policy and reinforced in our Code of Business Conduct, which is reviewed annually by all team members. It is also reinforced in our day-to-day work and initiatives, which in 2016 included the following:

Mental health training

We expanded our mental health training with targeted efforts to reach all team leaders and provide training on a voluntary basis to all team members, with a special focus on union representatives and Health and Safety committee members.

Our leadership team is the cornerstone of culture change and support. Accordingly, our emphasis in 2016 was to encourage all leaders to complete the Workplace Mental Health Leadership certificate program, the world’s first university-certified workplace mental health program, developed in partnership with Queen’s University and our EFAP provider. Since its inception, more than 340 companies across Canada have participated in the program leading to a certificate from Queen’s. The content helps leaders to build their skills in supporting their team members and applying healthy workplace practices, accommodation and return-to-work best practices, while at the same time strengthening preventative techniques, and integrating elements from the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

2016 was a record year for our training program with more than 4,395 leaders taking some part of the training. To date, 9,365 leaders have completed the first module with more than 4,109 of them also having finished the second module.

Since its inception, more than 340 companies across Canada have participated in the the Workplace Mental Health Leadership certificate program, the world’s first university-certified workplace mental health program.

Employee and family assistance program (EFAP)

A critically important tool for the management of team members’ total health needs, including prevention of illness, the EFAP offers various counselling options for team members including e-counselling, over the phone, a dedicated mobile app, and face-to-face counselling with accredited professionals.

In 2016, we augmented the support with new family-oriented services and launched 2 forms of group therapy for Parenting and Communications. Led by a counsellor, these sessions enable participants to build relationships, gain encouragement from others and receive feedback on how to meet goals and overcome challenges.

Since the launch of Bell Let’s Talk 6 years ago, and because of internal awareness campaigns and promotion, EFAP usage has increased 162%.

Awareness and communication

Bell continued to provide team members and their families with expert insight and advice on health, wellness, and development-related topics through the LifeSpeak video library that offers content from internationally acclaimed experts, authors, professors, and medical professionals. In 2016, team members accessed these resources more than 12,200 times, up 56% over the prior year.

We offer team members a variety of events and special activities that promote awareness during Bell Let’s Talk Day, Mental Health Week, Mental Illness Awareness Week and National Suicide Prevention Day. Since 2010, Bell has organized more than 900 mental health events for team members across Canada, including seminars, workshops, information kiosks and speakers. In 2016, we increased team member engagement in these events by more than 13%.

The Bell Let’s Talk website and the mental health and wellness site launched in 2015 on our intranet continue to provide easy-access, centralized tools and resources for team members to learn, participate and stay informed. In 2016, team members accessed our mental health and wellness site more than 20,000 times, taking advantage of our comprehensive mental health resources, including articles, videos and training, and a wide variety of other resources addressing total health.

Other initiatives

Our return-to-work program has been widely recognized for excellence and continues to yield promising results in terms of reduced rates of relapse and reoccurrence of disability leave. Mental health related relapses (within 1 month) and reoccurrences (within 1 year) are down 50%.

As well, knowing that physical health is closely associated with mental health, Bell continued to promote our partnership with Goodlife tness. In 2016, more than 2,500 team members and their families took advantage of the significant corporate discount.


National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety

Bell continues to support and promote the adoption of the National Standard of Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace across corporate Canada. Since the inception of the standard, we have shared best practices across hundreds of organizations in Canada to provide encouragement and guidance for others to implement healthier frameworks in their own workplaces.

Our 3-year project with the Mental Health Commission of Canada ended in 2016, and Bell is proud to be recognized as a leader in the implementation of the national standard. We will continue our commitment to the standard by building sustainable programs, such as: 

Linking our annual team survey questions to the 13 psychological factors as outlined in the national standard. These factors are known to have a powerful impact on organizational health and the well-being of individual team members

Offering a Health Risk Assessment coincident with the benefits‑renewal process, as we did in 2016. This increases awareness of the importance of establishing healthy physical and mental lifestyles. Coupled with the tools and resources we make available, this gives team members the opportunity to make better personal choices.


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