3. Acknowledge That Mental Health is a Spectrum
The Mental Health Continuum Model from the Mental Health Commission of Canada takes away labels and categorizes symptoms of good to poor mental health under a four colour continuum: green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill).
The colours work well as a stigma reduction tool, allowing employees to talk about mental health neutrally, without labels or diagnoses.
4. Consider Workplace Flexibility and Job Design
Employees need to know that they won’t be penalized for taking care of their mental health. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to consider flexible work arrangements. Offering mental health days or flexible job design to accommodate therapy appointments or treatment can significantly impact and improve employee mental health, not to mention job satisfaction and productivity.
5. Offer Free Screening Tools
Mental illness often goes untreated because employees don’t recognize the signs and symptoms.
The Canadian Mental Health Association offers a free screening tool that can help employees determine their level of mental fitness.. To access the Mental Health Meter, visit https://cmha.ca/mental-health-meter.
6. Develop Mental Health Resources
If you don’t already have a toolbox of resources where employees can find the mental health support they need, consider building one. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Create an intranet page or Google doc of your own resources, use an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or some combination of the two. And remember, resources only help if employees know about them. Remind your team regularly about the supports available and where to find them.
7. Have a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Harassment and Discrimination
Take a stand against harassment and discrimination. Having the appropriate policies in place makes it clear that these behaviours have no place in your workplace. Ensure that all employees are clear about codes of conduct and the consequences.
More on this topic here:
As a Leader, there is a limit to your responsibility that is met when the issue exceeds your training and your area of expertise. While your own experience and willingness to be an advocate is helpful, you are not expected to, nor should you attempt to do the work of a mental health professional who has undertaken years of education, specialized training and experience to provide appropriate expertise and support.
When the limit of your ability and responsibility has been reached, here are some ideas for addressing mental health with your employees.[i]
- An employee indicates concern for their mental health, indicating anxiety, depression, or other issues.
- If available, provide them with the contact information for your EAP provider and encourage them to reach out today.
- Suggest they connect with their family physician as a starting point. Acknowledge that given current pandemic circumstances, this can take longer than usual!
- Provide the distress centre number and encourage them to call to explore alternatives
- Encourage them to reach out to a family member or friend and to share their concerns today.
- Provide them with the list of resources included at the end of this blog.
What do you say?
- “I can see that you’re having a hard time.”
- “You don’t seem like yourself – do you want to talk about it?”
- “Are you doing ok?”
- “Do you have a friend, family member, or therapist that you could call for some support with this?”
- “Have you tried connecting with our EAP provider? They have some great resources; I’ll send along their contact information.”
- You believe an employee is in crisis, significant distress, or in danger of causing harm to self or others. In no particular order (assess based on situation):
- Call the emergency contact listed in their employee file
- Refer to an urgent care centre where the can receive an appropriate assessment
- Call the police non-emergency line for assistance
- Call 911
What do you say?
- “We’re going to find someone who can help you”
- “I’m going to stay with you (online, on the phone or in person) until we find someone who can help”
- Confirm address of current location
- Confirm phone number where they can be reached
- Confirm the name and contact info for an emergency contact person
Trust your gut. Do not be afraid to overreact. An appropriate exception to confidentiality is a situation where a person is at risk of harm to self or others.
Calgary Community and Urgent Services
- Community Services Line 211
- Health Link 811
- Distress Centre 403-266-4357. Speak to a highly trained volunteer, who will actively listen and provide additional resources if needed.
- 24 Hour Crisis line (403) 266-HELP (4357)
- 24 Hour Teen crisis line (403) 264-8336
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (not monitored 24 hours a day)
- Offered in over 200 languages
- Online support via Online crisis chat
- Teen specific: CalgaryConnecTeen.com
- Text messaging 587-333-2724
- Mobile Response Team- access by calling the Distress Centre – 403-266-4357 As an Employer, you can call and receive specific advice when assisting an employee in crisis.
- Walk in Counselling:
- Urgent Mental Health Services (South Calgary Health Centre (SCHC)/ Sheldon Chumir) or any Hospital Emergency Room
- Walk in Counselling at SCHC (evenings 4-7 pm) no appointment needed 403-943-9374
- Eastside Family Centre –no appointment needed- (11 am- 7pm) 403-299-9696
- Access Mental Health (Alberta Health Services) Information 403-943-1500
- Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line. Call 1-877-303-2642.
- Canadian Mental Health and Suicide Services 403-297-1708
- Addictions (Alberta Health Services) 403-367-5000
- Addiction Services Helpline – 1-866-332-2322 – 24 Hours
- Bullying Helpline – bullyfreealberta.ca 1-888-456-2323 – 24 Hours
- Child Abuse Hotline – 1-800-387-5437 – 24 Hours
- Family Violence Info Line – 310-1818 – 24 Hours
- Income Support Contact Centre – Financial help for Albertans who don’t have resources to meet their basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, shelter) 1-866-644-5135 – 24 Hours
- Kids Help Phone – kidshelpphone.ca – 1-800-668-6868 – 24 Hours
- Medication & Herbal Advice Line – 1-800-332-1414 – 24 Hours
- Mental Health Helpline – 1-877-303-2642 – 24 Hours
- Poison & Drug Information service – 1-800-332-1414 – 24 Hours
- CIWA (Calgary Immigrant Women’s Assoc.) https://www.ciwa-online.com/ 403-263-4414
- Domestic Violence
- Calgary Women’s Emergency (family violence hotline) 403-234-7233
- Sheriff King 403-237-5888 -YWCA of Calgary- 403-266-4111 or 403-266-0707
- Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCASA) 403-237-5888
- Hospice Calgary- Children’s Grief Centre 403-263-4525
- AHS Grief Support Program 403-955-8011
- Woods Homes Youth Community Response Team 403-299-9699 or 1-800-563-6106. Text 587-315-5000 between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Find information on no-cost walk-in counselling services.
- Kerby Center (ages 65+) 403-265-0661
- Calgary Counselling Centre 403-691-5991
- Calgary Family Therapy Program 403-802-1680
- CARYA -Individual and family 403-269-9888 – Family Support and Services
- Catholic Family Services 403-233-2360
- YWCA Counselling 403-536-2844
- Wellness Together Canada – helps connect you to mental health and substance use support, resources, and counselling with a mental health professional. (https://ca.portal.gs/)
- Metis Nation of Alberta (http://albertametis.com/covid-19-information/mental-health/)
- Social-Emotional Learning Government Resource (https://www.alberta.ca/social-emotional-learning.aspx)
- Trauma-informed practice Government Resource (https://www.alberta.ca/trauma-informed-practice.aspx)
- Working Together to Support Mental Health in Alberta Schools (https://education.alberta.ca/media/3576206/working_together_to_support_mental_health.pdf)
- Alberta Community of Social Service – Children’s Mental Health Government Resource (https://www.alberta.ca/childrens-mental-health.aspx)
- Community Connect YYC – Book affordable barrier-free phone or video counselling sessions. https://www.communityconnectyyc.ca/
- Togetherall – Join and connect to a clinically moderated online peer-to-peer mental health community. – Free to Albertans over the age of 16. https://togetherall.com/en-ca/
- Bounceback – A free guided self-help program that helps adults and youth age 15-plus learn how to manage low mood, mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry. https://bouncebackbc.ca/
- Wellness Together Canada – Free online resources and supports, including immediate text support, information and videos, self-guided mental wellness programs and counselling. https://ca.portal.gs/
PRIVATE COUNSELLING OPTIONS- FEE for SERVICE- Practitioners can be found on The Psychology Today, ACSW, Alberta Psychologists or Accelerated Resolution Therapy Website.
Creating psychologically safe and healthy workplaces is a subject that we care about a lot at Cenera. Our HR Advisors welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help you build a safer, healthier workplace now and into the future.
Contact us today to book a consultation!
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[i] Special thanks to Heather Good, MSW, RSW www.heathergood.ca for her expertise and insight