Which illness affects approximately 20% of Canada’s population at any given time but rarely gets talked about?

That would be mental illness, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). In a culture loathe to acknowledge troubles of the mind—depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia—mental illness remains an uncomfortable topic. In fact, statistics of the CMHA bear this out: almost half (49%) of people who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about it. That despite the fact that by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.

Add to those frightening statistics the stress of these uncertain times, and there’s never been a better time to take a look at what we can all do to support our own—and each other’s—mental health.

A lot of self-care takes place at home. As a forward-thinking company, Ideal Products is starting to proactively support the mental health of their staff at work.

We recently launched four initiatives geared towards supporting the mental well-being of our employees.

The first initiative was the introduction of a concept. Ideal Products employees were encouraged to identify what drains their ‘Energy Bucket’, and what fills it. Creating awareness was the key here to helping people choose the things that give them more energy and avoid the things that drain them.

The second initiative was the ‘Organized & Tidy Workspace’: having a tidy workspace helps with changing and refreshing mindsets. In fact, a 2010 study by researchers at the University of California found that cohabiting couples who described their living space as “cluttered” or complained of “unfinished projects” were more likely to be suffering from depression and fatigue than those who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative”. Additionally, those living in cluttered environments displayed higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released into a person’s blood from their adrenal gland, often in response to stress.

Our third initiative was the recent introduction of the ‘Pacer’ app to employees. This app lets employees count their steps each day, thus encouraging greater physical activity, not to mention a lighthearted rivalry! While on the surface this seems like a simple fitness initiative, extensive research draws an irrevocable link between exercise and mental well-being.

Lastly, Ideal Products is about to launch a company-wide newsletter! To be filled with uplifting stories, birthday notices, company news and tips for self-care, it is hoped the newsletter will create a sense of connectedness, recognition and engagement among employees.

In keeping with its reputation as a caring company, Ideal Products is making the mental health of its employees a priority.

What are you doing as an individual or company to maintain the mental health or yourself or your employees? Please share your success stories.