Need help dealing with mental health effects of COVID-19?

A new psychological support toolkit is available for workers and employers coping with increased anxiety and stress due to COVID-19. 

Photo of business man putting on reusable face mask

Photo credit: Pixabay.com/ Valentin Baciu

Approximately 46,000 Canadians responded to an online questionnaire from Statistics Canada, and just over 52 percent of them reported a decline in their mental health due to COVID-19. They reported increased anxiety and stress.

Beyond the high personal cost to individuals struggling with their mental health, impacts are also seen in the workplace. Mental health challenges can lead to absenteeism and can impact job performance. To support these workers and keep them on the job, employers need to offer resources for mental health.

That’s why the BC Municipal Safety Association (BCMSA) in partnership with workplace mental health expert Diana Vissers (Work to Wellness) created a free Psychological Support Toolkit for workers and employers.

“COVID-19 has been such a universal equalizer — affecting all industries to some degree,” says Christine Zielke, operations manager at the BCMSA. “We can definitely see there’s a need for increased mental health support to counteract those extra stressors. One of our goals in the program is to provide resources to make people more resilient so they can deal with those stressors.”

Resources for resilience

The toolkit includes a five-part virtual summit led by industry experts. Topics will include:

  • Identifying psychological impacts and needs due to COVID-19
  • Skills for communicating effectively with people experiencing psychological distress
  • Exploring substance use and impacts during COVID-19
  • Support for managers and leaders: how to respond to your team’s psychological needs during COVID-19

The first session is on September 10, 2020. All five summits will be recorded and made available online, along with information packages, checklists, and other resources. People can also join an online forum to share solutions, support, and encouragement.

“After the summits, people can come together and exchange information organically. They can talk about what’s working best in their industry,” Christine says. “It will give them a chance to network with peers in similar roles — to provide and share tools and resources that have been working for them.”

The project is supported by a number of B.C. workplace health and safety associations. They include: Actsafe Safety Association, AgSafe, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Forest Safety Council, go2HR, Local Government Management Association of B.C., SafeCareBC, and SafetyDriven.

See WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 information and resources for more information on how workers and employers can keep their workplaces and themselves as safe as possible.

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