Keynotes & Lectures

Available as Keynote, Keynote with breakout lectures, or one-day workshop

Mastering mental health through resiliency and coping skills

Ideal for managers & employees. Suggested group size: small to large


Why are some people happier than others? Life is filled with challenges. How we cope with the stress of those challenges has a direct and profound effect on our happiness and mental health, particularly in the workplace. Employers, leaders and HR professionals are quickly realizing the need and benefit of focusing on the mental health of their employees. Every day, half-a-million Canadians miss work due to mental health issues. The effects of poor mental health at work seep into their overall quality of life, both at home and at work. Gaining insight on how daily micro decisions impact resiliency and how coping skills can be used in all aspects of life helps not only employees but also the overall organization.

Dr. Howatt facilitates a fast-paced, interactive conversation on what individuals can do to positively impact their mental health. Building on core concepts from his popular book The Coping Crisis, he demonstrates how people can learn to take better control of their mental health by developing their coping skills, which can have a positive impact on one’s health, engagement and productivity. Participants receive a complimentary copy of Dr. Howatt’s Globe and Mail e-book, Staying Afloat, packed with micro skills that support mental health.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt


• Explore the links between distress, mental health and mental illness
• Clarify the difference between mental health and mental illness
• Examine the positive effects of stress
• Discuss the links between stress, mental health, resiliency and coping skills • Explore how adult learners can develop their coping skills to solve problems

Length: 75 mins to 3 hours (length can be modified)

Mental Health: A conversation with leaders

Ideal for managers and employees. Suggested group size: small to large.


Mental health continues to be a major problem. It’s the number one cause of disability globally. One of the most important strategies to reduce mental injuries and promote mental health is to support leaders to increase their awareness and skill level to support employee mental health in the workplace. Leaders don’t need to be mental health professionals to support employees’ mental health. This three-hour program is designed to provide a foundational conversation about mental health: what it is and what leaders’ roles are.

Dr. Howatt introduces a mental health support framework for leaders and their direct reports. Leaders are provided insight with respect to duty to inquire; identify employees at risk; understand how to approach them; and how to facilitate a supportive conversation as a gateway to professional mental health support.

“I learned that a long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.” – Seth Godin


Upon completion of the program, leaders will be able to::
• Understand why they must take care of their own mental health, so they can support others
• Establish and understand expectations when supporting an employee with a mental health issue
• Have increased awareness of mental health
• Examine the roles of coping skills and resiliency on mental health and illness
• Understand the mental health support framework for guiding employees who may have a mental health concerns

Length: 3 hours

Respectful workplace policies are failing: So how to reduce employees’ mental injuries?

Ideal for leaders. Suggested group size: small to large


With major changes to occupational health and safety legislation in many provinces and changes in workers’ compensation coverage with respect to mental injuries, employers are paying more attention than ever to curbing mental injuries in the workplace. Creating a respectful workplace is not only an important commitment by organizations to promote civility and positive workplace cultures, it’s financially prudent. Organizations are now dealing with the reality that they can be held accountable to pay for mental injuries in the workplace.

Employers who are simply implementing respectful workplace policies and providing basic training for employees and managers may not achieve their desired outcomes to stop respectful workplace violations. Organizations can add to their success by not assuming employees have the skills to self-advocate and confront people who are bullying or harassing them.

Dr. Howatt provides insight on how HR professionals and managers can curb respectful workplace violations through supporting employees develop their self-advocating skills, resiliency and how psychological safety and health management systems (PHSMS) can mitigate respectful workplace violations.

“Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.” – Lily Tomlin


• Understand how big the problem is in today’s workplace
• Know what the MeToo movement means to respectful workplace policies
• Review the links among respectful policies, mental health strategies and occupational health and safety
• Explore the root causes of respectful workplace violations
• Examine leaders’ role in facilitating psychologically safe workplaces
• Examine new research on the role of self-advocacy and why some employees can be more at risk than others

Length: 3 hours (length can be modified)

Cannabis in the workplace: How to facilitate “fit for work”

Ideal for leaders. Suggested group size: small to large.


How ready is your organization to manage employees who are using marijuana recreationally or for medical reasons? Legalization of this first drug that can be used recreationally and medically will mean more social conformity and acceptance. With more use will come more risk.

Dr. Bill Howatt, an international expert in addictions doesn’t believe updating policies and testing procedures will be enough to protect employees from increased risk for accidents and addictions. He explores best practices for organizations to protect both employees using and not using cannabis, as well as the community at large, from adverse risk.

This program is designed to provide occupational health and safety and human resources professionals and managers with information to help them navigate cannabis use in the workplace.


• Examine how cannabis interacts with the body when smoked and digested
• Explore links between stress, cannabis use and addiction risk
• Define “Fit for Work” with respect to what employees must know
• Explain what leaders need to know when dealing with someone under the influence of cannabis in the workplace
• Review a best practice checklist for organizations to prepare policies for testing, training leaders and educating employees on the risks and benefits of cannabis use

Length: 90 mins to 3 hours (length can be modified)

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