Preventative Mental Health: Mornings with Sue and Andy Show and CEO of headversity Dr. Ryan Todd

A talk on preventative mental health with CEO of headversity Ryan Todd on Mornings with sue and Andy's Show on 770 CHQR

CEO of headversity Dr. Ryan Todd recently appeared on 770 CHRQ’s Mornings with Sue and Andy Show to talk about the importance of preventative mental health for the workforce.

In today’s business climate, it is more important than ever for companies to have a resilient workforce. In order to build a team that is able to address the mental health needs and concerns of their staff, companies need to be proactive in their approach.

In this interview, Dr. Todd discusses: the need for a resilient workforce; upstream thinking; the role of headversity in preventative mental health and the upcoming Upstream Summit.

What is headversity?

headversity is a workplace mental health program, and it focuses on preventing bad outcomes, safety outcomes, and mental health outcomes in the workplace. The namesake is headversity because we are working with employers and employees to get ahead of adversity through our training.

Has the need and want for employees to have better access to resources in the workplace increased?

Yes, it’s been quite a traumatic increase; headversity came into the world just before the pandemic. I’m a psychiatrist and I had seen a significant change in the number of patients in my clinical practice here in the city. And, the workplace has changed so dramatically.

The stressors have exponentially increased and so have the demands. A company like ours who are providing, preventative mental health support, resources and training it’s been quite a journey throughout the pandemic and beyond.

What do you mean by; the future of mental health lives upstream?

In medicine, we often talk about prevention and we like to work upstream of the problem. Get up the river instead of working down the river when the problem has already happened, and that’s really what upstream is all about.

Then, tenants behind upstream are trying to prevent the thing from happening before it happens. As a psychiatrist, I see people nine months too late, six months too late, and 12 months too late. We can help them and try and prevent other bad things from happening and improve skills. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

 Imagine how great it would be to have an opportunity of preventing somebody from needing to see me or going on disability or getting burnt out even?

How does this look through the lens of headversity in the workplace?

Very few people work a classic nine-to-five anymore. Everything is in a hybrid environment; so to is our training through headversity. So, we have a mobile application that helps individuals upskill themselves day in day and day out. Content and tools and new ways of looking at problems in the workplace.

We also have a team-based platform that has helped leaders train their teams and employees on skills like mindfulness or mental fitness and psychological safety. We work a lot with, call it blue collar organizations. Eighty percent of the workforce is in the field, hands-on tools, and 20% is in the office.

So, we’ve learned very early in the pandemic that we have to provide this training in places where people already are and in the flow of work. We can’t do the ‘workshop and then bring in a speaker’ model. That model is gone. We need to meet people where they already are. 

Who is Upstream for?

Employees who are interested in this space and prevention should absolutely come, especially if you’re in human resources or in health and safety. The summit will have leaders from all over North America who are leading in the field of preventative mental health.

Mental health touches everything. So, preventing issues around mental health improves every type of workplace because it’s workplace agnostic. Whether you work in a bank or whether you work in construction. This, is a conference that can really bring the top leaders from around North America to the forefront and help us understand how we can bring prevention around mental health to your company.

About Upstream

This preventative mental health summit brings together champions and advocates for workforce mental health from across North America. The event will focus on how to proactively address and prevent mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on the needs of front-line workers. The summit will also highlight the importance of building mentally healthy workplaces, and will provide practical tools and resources that employers can use to support the mental health of their employees.

If you’re looking for support in building a more resilient workforce visit: to find more opportunities.

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