Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace launches Managing Emotions to help build emotional intelligence in the workplace

New resource follows federal government announcement to fund the creation of a voluntary national standard for mentally healthy workplaces

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2011 – Today Canadian employers gained access to another important online tool designed to help employers improve mental health in the workplace with the launch of Managing Emotions.

Developed by leading Canadian mental health researchers, Managing Emotions is the newest, evidence-based assessment tool of emotional intelligence in the workplace commissioned by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the WorkplaceTM (the Centre) and funded by Great-West Life through its national corporate citizenship program, Stronger Communities Together.

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is the ability to deal with other people’s emotions and reactions in the workplace, to understand and manage your own reactions, and to communicate effectively.

The launch is timely for Canadian employers, following the federal government’s announcement in June to fund the creation of the voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, expected to be released in summer 2012. Once completed, the voluntary Standard is expected to provide organizations with tools to achieve measurable improvement in psychological health and safety for Canadian employees.

According to Statistics Canada (2003), approximately 20 per cent of Canadian workers experience a stress-related illness every year, and it has been estimated that 10 per cent of the Canadian working population has a diagnosable mental illness,* resulting in billions of dollars every year in workplace losses.

Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Centre, says Managing Emotions can help employers who are committed to improving and enhancing the psychological health of their workplaces in advance of the Standard’s release.

“Managing Emotions can be used in pre- and post-testing of managers’ emotional intelligence skills, particularly in the area of recognizing and responding to emotional distress of their employees in their workplaces,” Baynton says. “The degree of success is directly related to their personal level of commitment to hone their emotional intelligence skills.”

“Managers and supervisors at all levels who use Managing Emotions may be helped to improve their ability to be effective in understanding and managing other people’s emotions in the workplace,” says Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych., Organizational & Media Consultant and principal developer of the resource. “Further, they will be better able to understand what’s happening to a person who is distressed and to develop practical strategies to help manage that distress,” Dr. Samra adds.

Managing Emotions is the newest component of the Centre’s Managing Mental Health Matters program. The tool includes an assessment that takes about 15 minutes to complete. No identifying data is collected or stored. Results of the assessment are returned to the user immediately, at which time the user can print the results. For those who wish to improve their results, interactive learning resources such as key strategies, exercises and video-based training options are provided.

Managing Mental Health Matters, and a variety of other tools and resources, are available free of charge, to anyone, at the Centre’s website at

*Source: Dewa, Chau & Dermer, 2009

About Managing Mental Health Matters

Managing Mental Health Matters (MMHM) is a first-of-its-kind program focused on helping managers, supervisors and other leaders learn how to effectively recognize and manage mental health-related issues in the workplace. MMHM uses a story-based approach, portraying realistic episodes of workplace characters dealing with situations common to everyday worklife. The user engages in the process, rather than simply being given information.

About the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace

Established in June 2007, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace is a leading source of free, evidence-based practical ideas, tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues. Focused specifically on the workplace, the Centre is working to increase awareness and understanding, and to help employers take concrete steps to prevent and reduce employee mental health issues. All of the Centre’s tools and resources are available to anyone, every day, at no charge at

As an Imagine Caring company, Great-West Life is proud to support the work of the Centre through its national corporate citizenship program, Stronger Communities Together.