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Workplace Wisdom

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By Donna Marshall, M.A., Counselling Psychology, RP, CEO and Co-Founder
and Dr. Stephanie Bot, C. Psych., Psychoanalyst, President and Co-Founder

Employee Resilience as an Influence on
Workplace Mental Health

This article is excerpted from Workright’s Certificate Program in the Management of Workplace Mental Health and Psychological Safety.


Employee Resilience as An Influence
On Workplace Mental Health

A senior VP of a financial institution, with a 20-year record of exceptional performance came for counselling. Her new boss began leaving her out of critical meetings, blocking her from receiving information and severely scrutinizing and criticizing her projects.

Gradually she became more and more unsure of herself, dreaded going into work, felt humiliated in front of her colleagues and superiors and finally had to go on mental health leave because she was experiencing serious physical and emotional symptoms from his harassment. She later found out that he wanted to move his friend from another organization into her role and was setting her up for failure and termination.

Here was a highly competent and resilient employee who eventually found it hard to just get out of bed in the morning.

Employers and Leaders carry the burden to provide optimal conditions that promote employee well-being. In this way, employees can maximize their opportunities to make their best contribution to their workplace.

Personal Resilience refers to an individual’s ability to work effectively, even when faced with demands, expectations, difficult people and other stressors.
Each of us is more or less at risk of experiencing and presenting with mental health issues at work, depending on how we experience, process and manage the following factors:

  • Circumstances such as divorce, ailing loved ones, illness, financial concerns, existential issues, community support, etc. …Difficult life events hit all of us at some time or another, but depending on our backgrounds, previous losses, traumas and other personal factors, our level of resilience can be impacted
  • Pre-Dispositions including family history, history of trauma and addictions, biochemical imbalances, personality traits, etc.
  • Pre-Existing Mental Health Issues such as PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Anger Management, Paranoia, Addictions, Narcissistic, Borderline and other Personality Disorders, etc. Those with pre-existing conditions can find it much harder than others to just “bounce back” from challenging workplace stressors
  • Health Practices including exercise, nutrition, sleep and other self-care behaviors are also contributors to every employee’s mental resilience

Take a moment to reflect on your own vulnerabilities in these areas and consider what you can do to address them in yourself, to become more resilient to workplace stress.

Employers Beware!

Employers and Leaders CANNOT infringe on an employee’s personal health and mental health privacy or information.

  • You can’t assess job applicants during the hiring process;
  • Employers are not qualified, nor are they ethically or legally able to assess the individual personal or mental health complexities and challenges of the people they employ.

It is important to note that even the most resilient employees can become vulnerable to mental health issues under certain circumstances, that overwhelm their ability to cope.





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Endorsed by

Excellence Canada
Tom Beegan
Donna Marshall

Donna Marshall
M.A., Counselling Psychology, RP
CEO and Co-Founder

Dr. Stephanie Bot

Dr. Stephanie Bot,
C. Psych., Psychoanalyst
President and Co-Founder

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