Mental health and work 1

Session details



12:00pm - 1:30pm


Zoom videoconferencing

Didactic presentation by:

Drew Sousa

Session objectives

At the end of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Explain how employers and healthcare practitioners can work collaboratively to support an individual, with a mental health condition, to facilitate an effective return to work.  
  2. List the organizational factors required to provide a healthy work environment which supports an individual to obtain appropriate health care, facilitate a return to work and fully integrate into the workplace.  
  3. Describe how stigma impacts an individual’s ability to obtain appropriate health care.  

Session resources

CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013: Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
This voluntary standard specifies requirements for a documented and systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy & safe workplace. Source: CSA Group
Concussion guidelines
This tool supports primary care providers on the diagnosis and management of concussion in adult patients (≥18 years). The tool helps guide the assessment and diagnosis of concussion, and steps to create a tailored management and recovery plan with the patient. It also contains various resources for monitoring and follow-up visits. Source: Centre for Effective Practice
Consent and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
In order to access WSIB networks the patient must have an accepted claim for the injury. Section 37.1 of the Workplace and Safety and Insurance Act indicates that the WSIB is able to collect all information relevant to the injury or illness being claimed. Therefore, consent is not required if information is being requested by the WSIB when it is a patient claiming benefits under the Act. Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 16, Sched. A
CSA Z1011 20 Work disability management system
This Standard specifies the requirements for a work disability management (WDM) system that can be used by organizations to systematically manage their WDM activities. This Standard includes a framework for the management of work disability at the organizational level. It is applicable to small, medium, and large organizations in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors with at least ten workers. Annex A provides details about the employer role in work disability management. Source: CSA group
Didactic presentation: Mental health and work 1
In this presentation, Drew Sousa RN COHN (C) discusses how employers and healthcare providers can work collaboratively to support and facilitate return to work in an individual with a mental health condition, the organizational factors required to provide a healthy work environment, and how stigma impacts the ability to obtain appropriate healthcare services.
Guideline for concussion/mild traumatic brain injury & prolonged symptoms 3rd edition for adults over 18 years of age
This section of the guideline refers to return to activity, work, and school considerations. Source: Ontario Neurotrauma foundation
Ontario neurotrauma guidelines
ONF is internationally recognized for the guidelines for managing concussions (adults and children) and guideline for rehabilitating adults with moderate-to-severe TBI. These guidelines help healthcare professionals manage post-concussion symptoms and provide direction to rehabilitate persons with moderate-to-severe ABI. Starting in 2019 these Guidelines will become living guidelines to ensure that the most current research literature is incorporated into the recommendations. Source: Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
Recovery and return to work
A good resource for translating mental health symptoms into functional limitations and accommodation ideas is First Responders First.
Recovery and Return to Work is an important part of a holistic PTSD Plan. Return to Work for an worker who has suffered PTSD can involve careful balancing of the needs of the worker and the needs of the workplace/Employer. The Employer has a duty to accommodate, which means that you are required to “identify and change any rules, practices, expectations or procedures to meet the needs of employees so that they can perform to the best of their potential. This right to equality must be balanced with the employer’s right to run a productive workplace.” Source: First Responders First
UK Work-related stress: management standards
The Management Standards approach will help organisations comply with the law and tackle work-related stress. Source: UK Government Health and Safety Executive
WSIB New Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Program of Care
The Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Program of Care (mTBI POC) is a community-based health care program designed for early care of injured people with non-complex mTBI/concussion to help them recover and return to or stay at work. Source: WSIB

About presenter

Drew Sousa has been an occupational health nurse for over 25 years and is currently the executive director for the Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association (OOHNA). Before this, Sousa retired from being the manager of the Employee Health Unit at the City of Mississauga where, for 17 years, she led a multidisciplinary team of claims and health-care professionals in managing the disability and wellness programs for city staff.

Sousa has a special interest in disability management and mental health. She had the honour of representing OOHNA at the technical committees that created the CSA standards, Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and Workplace Disability Management System.

Sousa has a certificate in Workplace Mental Heath from Queens University and is a master trainer for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.  She has been a speaker for numerous conferences, including Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association, Osgoode Certificate in Workplace Mental Health Law and other industry specific conferences.

Case presentations

Most of the learning in ECHO happens through presenting and discussing case presentations. If you have a case you would like to present, please submit a completed case presentation form to the ECHO OEM project coordinator.

Physicians presenting a case may bill OHIP for case conferences (billing codes K707 or K701).