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Money or mental health? Many Canadians would take a pay cut for more support, survey finds

Last Updated Jan 28, 2020 at 9:52 am PDT

FILE. (iStock Photo)

Survey finds about six-in-10 Canadians would take a pay cut for more mental health support at work

Three-in-four people say they would leave or consider leaving their employer based on how they support mental health

Increased demands in the workplace are becoming a critical factor for employees, survey finds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Many of us would take a pay cut if we received more mental health support in the workplace, according to new research.

A survey from Morneau Shepell has found about six-in-10 Canadian workers would do that.

“We were surprised that the finding was so strong,” Senior Vice President of Research, Analytics, and Innovation at Morneau Shepell Paula Allen says. “We’ve known for a while that well-being support is something that employees value, and value a great deal. What we tested in this survey, though, is really how much are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?”

Allen says the findings were overwhelming. Three-in-four people asked saying they’d leave or consider leaving their employer, based on how the company supports its employees’ mental health.

When it comes to taking a pay cut, she notes many said they would would take 10 per cent less.

“Even those who had financial issues were willing to make that move,” Allen adds. “I think at the end of the day, when you work, you work to make your life better. Finances is only one part of that — your work experience is extremely important in terms of your quality of life.”

She points to another survey conducted by Morneau Shepell last year. It found work resources, work environment, and what an employer support can have a positive impact on a person’s mental health.

“Employees are recognizing that and, essentially, they’re taking care of themselves by saying, ‘I’m going to stay in a place where my employer invests in my well being, where I have resources, where it’s clear there isn’t stigma around mental health,'” she says, adding people are just trying to be their best selves.

Increased demands in the workplace are becoming a critical factor and the need for mental health support is largely driven by the continued stress that Canadians experience in their personal lives and in the office environment.

When it comes to the type of support they would be most willing to engage in for anxiety or depression resulting from added stressors, more than half of employees surveyed indicated talk therapy.

In comparison, one-in-three people indicated a willingness to take prescription medication.