Do’s and Don’ts – Assisting Members with Mental Health Issues


  • sensitize Union members about mental health disabilities
  • ensure we have harassment-free workplaces
  • listen carefully and respectfully
  • recognize signs of mental health disabilities so that we can assist our members and direct them to appropriate resources
  • find out what assistance and recourse routes are available in the workplace and community for members with mental disabilities
  • be sure that members know their rights
  • find out if the member is competent and well enough to act – and if not, work with a health practitioner to get them there and ensure they are protected in the workplacehelp members to navigate the various systems and recourse avenues, including their obligations in this regard (i.e. medical certificates etc.)
  • use Union expertise to create accommodation plans that work
  • seek time extensions where necessary for the memberhelp the member accept the need for accommodation
  • minimize conflict and stress for the member
  • respect the confidentiality of the member (unless they are a danger to themselves or to others)be flexible
  • assume the member knows what is best for him/her
  • always respect the dignity of the member
  • document every interaction with the member and the employer
  • get assistance when we need it


  • assume we know what is best for the member
  • divulge information that is confidential
  • label or stereotype members with mental health disabilities
  • act like a counsellor / therapist or give advice on how to address the mental health issues in theworkplace
  • impose solutions or resolutions on the member
  • look for quick fixes
  • be inflexible
  • talk down to the member
  • tolerate “mobbing” or discrimination
  • allow opportunities for sensitization to pass us by
  • stop assisting the member because they are “difficult” or “uncooperative”