Effective Workplace Responses to Mental Health Certificate Program

This eight-course Certificate Program addresses the mental health aspects of disability management and applies a holistic approach to foundational and current challenges related to evolving societal changes, the realities of a global pandemic, and workplace demands.

This Certificate Program has been developed specifically for those individuals whose responsibilities include disability management, as mental health conditions represent the greatest proportion of disability management claims. This Mental Health Certificate is designed to guide practitioners towards a perspective of informed “responding” versus well-intentioned “reacting”.

In order to receive a Certificate of Completion for this program, all courses in the program must be completed within a three-year time frame.

If someone is interested in some of the topic areas within the program but are not interested in obtaining a Certificate of Completion, it is possible to enroll in only those courses in topic areas that are of interest.

Please note that some of these courses have been offered previously and if an individual is interested in pursuing completion of the Certificate Program, it is possible to obtain an exemption for those courses they completed previously, but they must have been completed within the last three years and must provide an original transcript.

Please note that if any course in the program does not have sufficient registration for the scheduled date, it will be postponed to a later date.

All courses have been endorsed by the Canadian Society of Professionals in Disability Management (CSPDM) for continuing education credit (CEC) hours for the professional designations of Certified Disability Management Professional (CDMP) and Certified Return to Work Coordinator (CRTWC). Successful completion of each course provides 12 CEC hours unless otherwise stated.

(If you have previously completed DMCCD – Mental Health Issues, Rehabilitation and RTW within the last three years, you can receive an Exemption for this course upon presentation of an original transcript.)

This course begins with an exploration of some of the foundations of mental health including the delineation of mental health vs mental illness. The concerning prevalence of mental health globally is addressed. Course activities will then focus more specifically on the integral role of the individual responsible for disability management in guiding the recovering worker. A three-stage model of helping is introduced. Ethical considerations in executing a helping role are examined. Consideration of the role of the mentally healthy workplace environment as an overarching concept will be integrated into the activities of the course and will continue to be addressed as the courses in the program progress.

This course provides an opportunity to focus on the communication skills that are key to effective practice. Throughout the course, there is a focus on both skill-building and self-awareness in terms of related skills. Individuals responsible for disability management must build and maintain relationships with managers, supervisors, labour representatives, workers with disabilities, treatment providers and others. Superior communication skills are required to establish these relationships and to coordinate disability management interventions. The helping and problem-solving skills that are covered in this course are not designed to prepare those responsible for disability management to help workers deal with serious, long-term psychological issues that may have predated an injury or illness, nor are they adequate to assist someone who has become significantly depressed as the result of a disabling condition. Rather, the course is designed to building awareness of how and when a disability management practitioner can provide direct assistance to a worker experiencing mental health challenges and when referral to a specific resource is addressed.

This course provides a broad overview of mental health conditions in relation to workers. While individuals responsible for disability management will gain awareness of specific mental health conditions through their practice, overall concepts in the fields of psychiatry and mental health are examined as a whole. Conditions commonly seen in the work environment are highlighted, with a more intensive look at depression. This course begins with some background on classifications of various common mental health conditions experienced by workers and key considerations for the practitioner involved. Common cognitive, physical, behavioural, and emotional symptoms often related to mental health conditions are examined. The concept of resiliency is addressed, including its variability. A focus on understanding the functional challenges of workers is intertwined with the challenges of worker disclosure, invisible disabilities, and the provision of appropriate supports. The role of the individual responsible for disability management in identifying workers at risk and responding effectively is addressed. The need for attention to workplace strengths and barriers is highlighted.

(If you have previously completed DMCS 615 – Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace within the last three years, you can receive an Exemption for this course upon presentation of an original transcript.)

The purpose of this course is to provide individuals responsible for disability management with the information and tools required to support workers who are experiencing stress, chronic stress, anxiety and anxiety disorders. On successful completion of the course, participants will be able to explain stress, anxiety and anxiety disorders to others in the workplace. They will be able to address the impact of stress and anxiety on the worker, support change in the workplace and organization, and outline the benefits obtained when initiatives are taken to mitigate the effects of stress, anxiety and anxiety disorders. Employer obligations and workplace initiatives that can be put in place to mitigate stress and anxiety for all workers will be considered as well as factors that could be barriers or facilitators to individual workers remaining at work or returning to work.

(If you have previously completed DMCS 514 – Psychological Injury: Prevention, Job Retention, and RTW Strategies within the last three years, you can receive an Exemption for this course upon presentation of an original transcript.)

This course addresses the concept of psychological injury primarily from the perspective of the individual responsible for disability management who is involved in prevention, job retention, and return to work. The course focuses both on creating psychologically healthy workplaces, and the functional and activity implications of mental distress that arise either from a traumatic event or chronic stress. It also addresses the basis for determining legal responsibility for a mental injury as well as the challenges that arise when a psychological injury occurs comorbidly with another health condition. It covers the range of symptoms, evidence-based treatments, available interventions, and the strategies, supports and interventions that can be used to support job retention or return to work. In addition to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic mental stress, a number of related health conditions are also addressed including chronic fatigue syndrome, post-concussion syndrome, and the psychological implications of a major head injury.

(If you have previously completed DMCS 512 – Substance Recreational Use, Misuse and Addictions: A Disability Management Perspective within the last three years, you can receive an Exemption for this course upon presentation of an original transcript.)

This course provides an overview of substance use and addiction and its effects on the employability of workers and the productivity of the workforce. It covers the concept of substance recreational use, substance misuse and substance addictions; incidence rates; types of addictions; the challenge of comorbidity; treatment approaches and impacts; and the strategies that can be used in terms of prevention, job retention and return to work. The course overviews, from the unique perspective of the role of the individual responsible for disability management, the strategies, interventions and supports that can assist employers to establish workplace prevention and promotion programs and assist at-risk workers to access appropriate treatment and to remain at work or reintegrate into the workplace.


(If you have previously completed DMCS 715 – Strategies to Retain Workers Experiencing Mental Health Challenges within the last three years, you can receive an Exemption for this course upon presentation of an original transcript.)

This course provides a bigger picture overview of workers within their environment and offers the opportunity to integrate a systematic approach to remaining and returning to work into the workplace. Now more than ever, individuals responsible for disability management will be looked to for leadership. Evidence-based tools provide a means to be a stable force in an environment of ‘new normal’. Opportunities for problem-solving with peers, discussions, and the encouragement to identify the issues within the participant’s workplace are included, as well as communication strategies to assist with engaging in collaborative planning.

Prerequisite: To enroll in this course, one must have completed: DMCS 750, DMCS 755, DMCS 760, DMCS 765, DMCS 770, DMCS 775, and DMCS 780.

This specialized Certificate Program in Effective Workplace Responses to Mental Health involves explorations of key dimensions of skill awareness and development. While the need for leadership and innovation by workplace leaders in this area has always been integral to workplace wellness, the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, substance use escalation and marked societal increases in mental illness, underscore the related responsibilities. Related roles have perhaps never been as challenging nor demanded the current level of knowledge currency and ongoing professional development. The Capstone Course is designed to assist participants in building foundations for the guidance of the educational activities of individuals and teams. Awareness of the overarching concepts of knowledge translation and knowledge to action will be addressed. The Capstone Course also provides an opportunity to complete an in-depth exploration of a related area of interest. With faculty guidance, research and preparation of a strategic knowledge transfer plan will be completed. Practice in supporting and justifying research processes and viewpoints will also be inherent within the activities.

This course has been endorsed for 22 continuing education credit hours for CDMPs and CRTWCs.


Special and Advanced Modules

While the Effective Workplace Responses to Mental Health Certificate Program covers a range of modules specific to mental health in the workplace, the following provide an opportunity to explore other topics in more depth:

Special and Advanced Modules