With Mental Health Week (May 2-8) upon us, it’s time to pause and reflect on what psychological health and safety means in our lives and for our workplaces.
Over one year of grappling with COVID-19 is taking its toll on our mental health, with 77% of Canadians reporting feeling difficult negative emotions due to the pandemic according to a study by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the University of British Columbia.
Led by CMHA, the theme for this year’s Mental Health Week is #GetReal, where everyone is encouraged to think about and be accepting of their feelings and emotions — good or bad. Too often, we try to ignore how we’re feeling, which can lead to distress and a negative mental state. Identifying and naming your emotions aloud helps you to decompress and feel better. The idea is that when you name it, you release its hold on you and you’re able to manage those emotions better.
There are many ways to get involved during Mental Health Week – join us!
Have a Conversation about Your Mental Health
This Mental Health Week, be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. Name your emotions. Open up and share with your loved ones. It’s okay not to be okay.
One of the biggest issues faced when dealing with poor mental health is the feeling of being alone. Reach out and check in with those close to you. Showing your support to those around you goes a long way in making people feel they have a support system they can rely on.
Social media is a powerful tool. Spreading awareness around the importance of supporting mental health and resilience amplifies the message and helps to break down the stigma surrounding mental injuries and illnesses. Show your support by sharing more information about Mental Health Week and mental health in Canada, supportive resources or your personal journey on social media using the hashtags #GetReal and #MentalHealthWeek. Additional resources and shareables are available at https://mentalhealthweek.ca/.
Strengthen Your Resilience
Resilience is often referred to as the ability to “bounce back” from difficult experiences. However, being resilient is not as simple as being down one moment and up the next. Resilience is more than just mental toughness and perseverance; it involves a variety of skills, behaviours and actions that anyone can learn and strengthen.
Discover more about building your resilience by exploring PSHSA’s ResilientME, a free, 30-minute self-guided microlearning program that focuses on six factors to help improve psychological resilience: mental fitness, physical fitness, nutrition, financial fitness, sleep and social connections. This tool incorporates highly effective strategies designed to increase your capacity for resilience.
Access Workplace Supports
Everyone in the workplace should be aware of the programs and resources their organization has in place to help support mental health at work. This may include Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), resilience or mental health training and peer support programs. Employers and supervisors can show their support by communicating the workplace supports they have in place and encouraging workers to access resources and participate in programming.
PSHSA offers a wide range of training programs to help build resilience organizations and promote positive mental health in the workplace.
R2 for Leaders: Building Resilient Organizations is a one-day program that helps organizational leaders understand what resilience is, how fostering qualities for resilience is important to organizational success and ways to help employees navigate resources to support mental health and wellbeing inside and outside of the workplace. R2 for Leaders aids organizations in developing their own R2 program that suits their workplace needs and environment.
PSHSA’s Mental Health Stay at Work and Return to Work training, available for both healthcare organizations and first responder organizations, helps organizations build a toolkit that supports healthy, safe and effective Return to Work or Stay at Work program and processes following a mental health-related absence. These distance learning programs focus on the impacts of chronic stress exposure to workers in healthcare or public safety as well as signs and symptoms to be aware of and how best to support workers.
Beyond Silence: Training for Workplace Mental Health Champions is customized for healthcare workers. Led by peer educators, this course is designed to help promote early intervention and support for psychological health and safety in the workplace. The program combines informational sharing and skills development with strategies for stigma reduction.
PSHSA is also planning an exciting pilot of the Occupational Stress Injury Resilience (OSIR) Index tool. The OSIR Index is a non-diagnostic screening tool developed by PSHSA and the Conference Board of Canada for assessing occupational stress injury risks among first responders and front-line health care workers in Canada that was found to predict important outcomes for mental health, physical health, and the workplace. If your workplace might be interested in participating in an upcoming pilot of the tool, complete the form here: www.pshsa.ca/resilience.
Let’s all try our best this week to #GetReal about how we feel.
For more information on available resources and training, visit www.pshsa.ca/resilience or access further information and resources on workplace mental health below.
- National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace | Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Workplace Strategies for Mental Health | Canada Life
- Maintaining Mental Fitness webinar series from Dr. Bill Howatt