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Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life? It could be you or someone you know and care about. Check out these 5 new videos to learn about how we can all promote positive mental health! The video series is accompanied by an activity guide to help keep the conversation going and take action on mental health.

How to talk about mental health

Talking about mental health can be hard for some people. Learn about safe ways to talk about your own mental health or illness and how to support others sharing their challenges with you.

Reducing stigma

The stigma around mental illnesses can keep people from getting the help they need and keep people from supporting each other through difficult times. Everyone can help to reduce stigma in our community. Get some ideas about how we can all help decrease stigma.

Building resilience

Being resilient is good for our mental health because it helps us recover and work through challenges in a positive way. You can learn resilience skills at any time. Check out ways to build your resilience or help others build their resilience.

Caring for yourself, the caregiver

Taking care of someone with a mental illness can be rewarding and challenging. It is important to take care of yourself FIRST so you can take care of others. Find ways to help you be the best caregiver you can be.

Building social connections

Connecting with people we care about is an important way to protect and improve our mental health. Find out ways to improve your connections or make new ones.

Promotional trailer

Activity Guide

Watch one or all five have THAT talk videos and then work on the suggested activities in this Activity Guide. You can do these yourself or organize a group: 

Resources

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call your local distress centre. For emergencies, call 911 or visit your local emergency department. 

Transcripts

How to talk about your mental health

Think about a time when you had good news to share with someone...maybe you did well at school or your manager recognized your hard work. Who did you share this with?

We like to share good news with those we care about and trust, but many of us find  it hard to tell someone if we are not doing so well. This can be especially true for those of us living with mental health challenges or illnesses.

In fact, 42% of Canadians were not sure if they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness!

So you can see the impact that stigma can have on us talking about our mental health. Some even said the stigma can be even worse than the illness itself…

...and this stigma can prevent people from getting help early or even at all, and can limit the supports people need to get better. 

Let’s look at an example:

This is Juan

Juan has been worrying a lot lately and is feeling very stressed. He’s not sleeping well and is feeling really sad. He doesn’t want to tell his family or friends because he thinks they won’t understand. So he has been keeping his feelings to himself for months and things are getting worse.

Luckily, Juan’s friend Marco has noticed changes in Juan and asks “Hey ….what’s going on, you haven’t been yourself lately, how ya doing?”

Juan trusts Marco because he’s been there for him in the past. He feels Marco is a safe person to talk to, so he shares how badly he’s feeling. Marco listens and tells Juan that he is there for him.

After some research, Marco suggests that they call a distress center line to get more information on what to do next, and where more help is available

Unfortunately, not everyone has a friend like Marco…and because of stigma, we don’t always treat mental health challenges the same as we do physical health challenges.  

Think about the last time you weren’t feeling well physically, like when you had a fever that didn’t go away, or you sprained your ankle….....

What did you do?

You probably told someone close to you and went to get it checked out right away!

Just like physical health challenges… we need to treat our mental health in the same way!

It’s important to talk to a professional if you are having challenges with your mental health. Getting support EARLY can help us stay mentally healthy or prevent our mental health challenges from getting worse.

When going through mental health challenges or illness, it also helps to talk about how you are doing with the people you love and trust so they can support you.

You don’t HAVE to share with others, but it can really help to have positive supports in your life when going through difficult times.

It is up to you if and when  you will share.

If you do share REMEMBER, some people may not respond the way you want them to. Some communities and families NEVER talk about mental health.

Some people might even be mean to you. This can be especially true if you talk about your struggles on social media. People can be mean out there! Make sure you are in a good place and ready before you share or post anything online…..and remember, if you need help but don’t know where to go, call a distress centre line as there are ALWAYS professionals who can help you.

Once you feel you are in a safe place and want to share, how do you start?

Well, start by picking people you really trust.

Ask them if you can share something with them

Tell them how you are feeling.

You don’t have to share everything at once…

if the person responds in a positive way…. you can always share more and talk to them again.

If the person doesn’t respond well, think about who else may be a safe person to share with.

And if someone shares their concerns with you, you don’t have to know all the answers…or give any answers, in fact it’s best to just listen, be supportive and encourage them to get help.

If you are concerned about their safety or your safety, call 911 or your local distress line.

Think about some things you can do that would make you feel more comfortable to start talking about your own mental health, or things you can do if someone shares their mental health challenges with you.

Write these things down so you can go back to them when you need them…... 

For more info and resources on mental health and mental illnesses …and when and where to get help…. check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk

Reducing stigma

Have you ever felt left out or judged by people because they thought you were different from them?

Maybe you’ve been discriminated against?

How did this affect you?

Maybe you felt misunderstood...embarrassed, alone, or even afraid?

That is what stigma might feel like.

So what is stigma?

Stigma is a set of negative beliefs, and prejudices, about a group of people Stigma also includes negative behaviors towards groups of people. Many people face stigma because of their race, religion, sexuality, gender, economic situation and a variety of other things.

People living with mental illnesses often face stigma and discrimination. This can make them feel ashamed, hopeless, distressed, reluctant to get help or accept help and feel like they are to blame for their illness.

In fact, almost half of Canadians thought people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behavior, and 27% said they would be fearful of being around someone who has a serious mental illness.

Why do some people think this way?

Well…many years ago, mental illnesses were not well understood. We didn’t know how mental illnesses influenced a person’s brain or affected their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

People with mental illnesses were not treated with the support they needed, and were considered outcasts or even dangerous.

To end stigma, people need to understand and accept that mental illnesses are like any other health conditions and need the right treatment. 

We would never say to someone “just think positively and your diabetes will go away”   But how many times have you heard “try to be happy…think positively…don’t be so depressed. You have so many good things in your life.”

Let’s look at an example of how stigma can hurt someone.

Stephan is a first year university student. He likes his program and has some new friends.  

However, Stephan feels stressed and overwhelmed by all of his schoolwork and being away from home. He is not feeling like himself and most days he doesn’t want to get out of bed. He’s afraid his friends will think he’s weak if he tells them …and he doesn’t want anyone seeing him at the clinic so he doesn’t reach out for help on campus…

His feelings get worse…and he’s having a hard time staying in school.

Like with Stephan, the stigma people experience often prevents them from getting help and support from family, friends and professionals.

We know from research that the sooner someone gets help, the better the outcome will be. This is true for all health conditions, including mental illnesses.

So…..how can we reduce stigma and help people like Stephan? 

  1. Think about your own feelings about mental illnesses. Do you have biases or judge people?
  2. Be aware of language: avoid using words that can be hurtful like “psycho” or “crazy”….
  3. Think about and discuss what you see in the media: How people with mental illnesses are shown in the media is not always accurate or fair…
  4. Learn more about mental illnesses: check out trusted websites like the Canadian Mental Health Association or Bell Let’s Talk
  5. Explore opportunities for relationships with people in your life who have mental health challenges and illnesses.

After watching this video, make a list of ways you can help yourself and your communities become more accepting of all people including those of us living with mental illness.

Think about one thing you can do now to help reduce stigma around mental illness?

It could be a small thing like not using hurtful and labeling words…

It could be reaching out to someone who you think might be struggling and encouraging them to get help…

It could be sharing your own experience living with a mental illness with someone you trust…if that feels comfortable and safe for you.

All of these things help reduce stigma and keep it from stopping others…and ourselves...from getting help when needed.

For more info and resources on stigma, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Building resilience

Think of a challenging time in your life.

Maybe you had a problem at school...or work...or with your partner.

Maybe you were under a lot of financial stress...

Did you find it hard to get through this time?

What helped you move forward?

Being able to work through life’s challenges in a positive way is called being resilient.

Resilience is about being able to cope through challenging times...and recover afterwards.

It helps us to thrive and reach our full potential – even when times are tough and it can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed by a challenge and using the experience as something to learn from.

Resilience doesn’t come from having a perfect life. It doesn’t mean we always have to be happy. In fact, it’s normal to feel sad or angry during tough situations.

Resilience is more about how we move forward through the challenges and deal with them successfully!

Sounds like a good thing ...right?

It is! In fact, research shows that being resilient helps us recover from illness faster, live longer, and do better in our daily activities. It also helps us to have happier, healthier relationships. 

The good news is that we can all practice skills to be more resilient and to help others be resilient too.

Being resilient is not just something you are born with …..or without. It’s something we can ALL work on over time! We can even help teach our family these skills. Improving our resilience skills helps protect us against mental health challenges and illnesses in the future.

Let’s look at an example.

This is Jennifer.

Jennifer has been having a hard time lately and is feeling stressed and upset.

Her mom isn’t well, she has some major bills she didn’t expect this month and her dog Shilo passed away a couple of weeks ago.

So, what are some things that Jennifer can do to help her through this hard time?

Well, she can think about things that helped her cope in the past.

She knows that  …

  • being active
  • listening to her favorite music,
  • and spending time with her friends and family helps her feel  better

She can also think about good things in her life … like her relationship with her partner. She can think of solutions for some of the things she has control over…maybe she can work some extra shifts to help with the bills.

Jennifer should also know that talking to a health care professional is always a good idea when going through difficult times.

One of the best parts about resilience that It is never too early or too late to start practicing!

So, let’s recap some proven ways to build and maintain resilience ...

Like…

  • Knowing your strengths
  • Thinking of things that you are grateful for
  • Being able to find solutions to challenging situations
  • Being OK with not doing everything perfectly
  • Practicing deep breathing and meditation or mindfulness.
  • Asking friends, family or a health care professional for help.
  • Letting your kids work through challenges and supporting them as they  learn how to deal with their struggles
  • And of course eating healthy, having healthy hobbies, getting enough sleep and spending time with your loved ones help us all.
  • Like Jennifer, we can all benefit from these tips when we are going through challenges...and we can even pass them onto others when they are going through difficult times.

So now….think about the things that helped you with a challenging period in your life.

What new things could you do next time that would be help?

Write these things down…so you can go back to the list to when you need it.

Try one thing this week that you can do to build on and maintain resilience in your life!

For more info and resources on resilience check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Caring for yourself, the caregiver

Think of someone in your life that you care for …or someone that you might need to care for in the future.

How DOES this, or how COULD this affect your life?

Did you know that there are more than 8 million people in Canada who provide care to a friend or loved one?

And….more than half a million of these people are caring for someone living with mental health challenges or illnesses?

Maybe you’re one of these people...or you know someone who is!

Being a caregiver can be very rewarding. It can also be challenging at times... and affect your own physical health and mental health.

The good news is there are things you can do to help you and your loved ones stay healthy.

Let’s look at an example. This is Samira.

Samira has a job and also helps care for her sister Aiyana who lives with a mental illness. 

Samira loves her sister, and is happy to help…. but she’s finding it hard to balance work and her personal life. She doesn’t have much time for herself...and feels conflicted…. she wants to help her sister but she also wants to see her friends more and maybe even travel.

What could Samira do to help her sister, and herself?

Like all caregivers, it’s important that Samira knows her limits...WHAT she can do and HOW MUCH she can do…And also knows where to get help, when to ask others for help, and how to accept help when it’s offered.

It’s important for caregivers to try to take care of themselves FIRST so they are better able to take care of others.

So what else could Samira do?

Samira could plan how many hours a week she needs to get her own work and activities done...how much free time she needs to take care of herself and then decide how much time she can spend helping her sister.

Maybe she can get support from her workplace and ask her manager about flexible working hours.

She could speak to a health care professional about her unique situation.

She could join a support group to learn more about her sister’s illness and how other people are managing in similar situations.

She can also ask her family and friends for help…or get help from community-based services.

Everyone’s caring experience is different…and so are the feelings that go along with it. You may have both positive and negative feelings. That is completely natural.

Sometimes your emotions might feel out of your control, BUT they are not right or wrong.

Practice feeling your emotions without judging them and think about WHY you feel certain things...This can help you understand how your emotions affect your actions and maybe even how they affect the person you care for.

If you notice unusual changes in your emotions, your physical health, or your mental health, talk to a health care professional as soon as you can. Remember that you are important and need to take care of yourself too.

Even if you’re not a caregiver, you probably know someone who is. Being kind and supportive to them and to the people they care for can really help.

After watching this video, make a list of things you can do to take care of yourself as a caregiver or support someone else who is a caregiver...

Pick one of these thinks you can DO this week...to help you or someone you know be the best caregiver possible!

Even small things can make a big difference.

For more info and resources on being a caregiver, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Building social connections

Think of the last time you spent time with family…or friends…or people you care about…

How did this make you feel?

Being connected with people in your life helps you feel like you belong...it even helps reduce stress, boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and can lengthen your life.

In fact, people with strong social support are usually happier, have better mental health, and feel a stronger sense of belonging in their community.

Unfortunately…. people who feel alone or isolated often have poor health.

In fact, new research has shown that not having social relationships can shorten our lives as much as smoking over 100 cigarettes per week.

But……the good news is that we can all do things to change this and to help ourselves and others feel more connected.

Let’s look at an example.

This is Sammy. He just moved to a new city and does not have any family there. Because his new job takes up a lot of his time, he hasn’t made any close friends yet. He comes home from work most days and spends time by himself watching TV or on his computer....he misses having his family around....and is starting to feel a little more sad and tired each day.

So what can Sammy do to get better connected with others?

Sammy can start by:

Getting out and exploring his new neighborhood...maybe he can check out his  community centre to see what activities they have

He can have lunch or go for a walk with his new co-workers... 

Sammy loves cycling but doesn’t know the area. He could visit a bike shop to see if there are neighborhood bike groups or look online for a bike group to join.

Volunteering is another great way to get connected in your community. He could check out Volunteer Canada, the local newspaper or local agencies to see where volunteer help is needed.

Like most of us, there may be a time when Sammy needs a little more help. When moving to a new city, recovering from an illness or going through a life change - calling someone you trust or talking to a health professional can really help.

If available, Sammy could get support from his employee assistance program at work or call 2-1-1 to find out about programs and resources for support.

The reality is that we all need people in our life during good times and during tough times. 

Make sure to reach out when you need help, be open to accept help when it is offered and help others in return.

So now, try to think about something you can do to make your connections stronger.

Are there people in your life or groups that you could reach out to?

How about others in your community who would benefit from more connections?

Could you offer to make a meal for a new parent or caregiver, or maybe a neighbor who is having a tough time?

Write all of your ideas down and pick one thing you can do this week to get more connected or to help others get more connected.

Even small things…like holding the door for someone; taking out the garbage for your neighbor….bringing food to someone in need…

These all can lead to big changes that can improve your connections, your physical health and your mental health.

For more info and resources on building social connectedness check out haveTHATtalk.ca.

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Promotional trailer

We talk about lots of things during our day…..the weather…sports…things we like to talk about and things that are hard to talk about...

But what about THAT talk? You know... the one about mental health.

It could be one of the most important talks you’ll ever have!

One in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life.

It could be you, or someone you care about.

So let’s take action to reduce stigma, increase support, and encourage people to get help sooner.

Check out haveTHATtalk.ca to learn more.

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health with support from Bell Let’s Talk.

For Parents

Ottawa Public Health’s “have THAT talk” mental health video campaign was created to give parents more information about mental health. The videos aim to give parents the knowledge and resources they need to talk about mental health with their child or teen. The program was launched on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 28, 2014.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 Canadians. Also, 75% of all of these problems start before the age of 24 years. Parents are encouraged to watch these videos to learn how they can have that talk about mental health with their child or teen. Please share these videos through Facebook, Twitter, or email. By talking about mental health openly, you can help your child become a healthy and resilient adult.

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen 

Help us to help you. Please take our feedback survey on this video:
http://www.fluidsurveys.com/s/havethattalk1 

Want to share this video on social media? Copy this link: http://youtu.be/z2QYzNfEW3Q

To view each question from part 1 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen : Transcript 

Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope 

Help us to help you. Please take our feedback survey on this video:
http://www.fluidsurveys.com/s/havethattalk2

Want to share this video on social media? Copy this link: http://youtu.be/JOZQg9NvnH8

To view each question from part 2 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope: Transcript 

Part 3: How to Have That Talk 

Help us to help you. Please take our feedback survey on this video:
http://www.fluidsurveys.com/s/havethattalk3

Want to share this video on social media? Copy this link: http://youtu.be/qloPmRipXqo

To view each question from part 3 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 3: How to Have That Talk: Transcript 

Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide 

Help us to help you. Please take our feedback survey on this video:
http://www.fluidsurveys.com/s/havethattalk4

Want to share this video on social media? Copy this link: http://youtu.be/HFEHTrL_ldI

To view each question from part 4 as a separate video, please visit the have THAT talk YouTube page

Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide: Transcript 

Promotional trailer

Want to share this video on social media? Copy this link: http://youtu.be/6nDkxtK8-xc

Transcript: Promotional Trailer 

Transcripts

Part 1: Mental Health and My Teen

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  As parents we may have questions about our child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

What physical, emotional and behavioural changes can I expect from my teen?

 So, during adolescence, the ages between eleven and eighteen, your child goes through many physical and emotional changes.  Things such as height, weight; lots of body changes happen during that age.  As well, they do experience a lot of emotional changes and that’s mostly due to hormones.  So, sometimes your child might be very happy one minute; sad or angry the next and this is very typical during normal adolescence. So, here we see Emma and she’s an example of a thirteen-year-old teenage girl.  She’s going through a lot of these changes that we just mentioned.  You can see from the picture that she’s dyed her hair, she has very heavy make-up and she’s looking somewhat rebellious in this picture.  These are all behaviours that can be typical of some teenagers.  She’s struggling with her sense of identity right now and can be very self-centred, and often you’ll hear your teenager say, ‘I don’t think you understand, you couldn’t possibly understand me’.   Next, we see Jamal.  Jamal is a thirteen-year-old teenage boy.  He’s looking very happy and self-confident in this picture, but inside he is struggling.  He wants very much to be accepted by his friends.  He’s feeling more pressured to fit in and he’s really worried about some of the body changes that he is experiencing.  He also may be feeling a little bit indestructible and willing to take more risks than he did in the past, for example, maybe he’s riding his bike without his helmet or possibly experimenting with alcohol or drugs. 

How do I know if my teen is in good mental health?

We say a person is in good mental health when they have the ability to contribute to their day-to-day lives, they fit in and participate in activities with their family and their community, and that they are able to deal with their day-to-day challenges.  Again, we have Emma, our thirteen-year-old girl and Emma is starting to have some behavioural changes that her parents are noticing.  She’s got changes in the friends that she hangs around with.  She doesn’t seem to be enjoying or participating in the kind of activities that she used to do in the past, and she’s less likely to want to spend time with her family.  For some children this may be typical behaviour and as a parent you may not be concerned, but if this behaviour is not typical of your child and is going on for a longer period of time, then maybe it’s time to have that talk.

When should I be concerned about my teen’s mental health?

A mental health problem is a change in how the brain works.  It has an effect on your emotions, your thinking and your actions.  So, let’s take Jamal.  Jamal is not having more challenges than he was in the past.  He is feeling that no one could possibly understand how he is feeling.  He is saying things like, ‘If I don’t hit something I think I’m going to explode.  I wish I could just stop feeling and if people knew what I was thinking they’d say I was crazy’.  Concerning statements from your youth would be things that go on for a long period of time, are very strong in emotion, are not typical behaviour that you’re used to seeing, if your child had a false belief that someone is trying to harm them; if they are seeing or hearing things that others are not; if they have a flat mood or affect, and by that we mean that they are not either showing happiness or sadness, but just very neutral all the time—no real emotion; if they express thoughts of death or if they are feeling depressed.  It’s extremely important that you get help for your child immediately by going to the hospital in the nearest emergency if your child is expressing thoughts of hurting themselves or others or says things like they want to die or just want to end it all.

Should I be embarrassed by my teen’s mental health problem?

It’s really important as a parent to remember that you are not alone.  One in five Canadians are diagnosed with mental health problems.  Mental health problems are not caused by bad parenting or by weakness or poor will-power on the part of your teen.  You know your child best.  As a parent we are very willing to get our children help when they have physical problems and we need to be equally willing to help our child when they have mental health problems.  There is good news.  If your child is diagnosed and treated early, the outcome will be very good for them and the likelihood is that they will recover from their mental health issues and lead a very full and positive life. 

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

Part 2: Teaching My Teen How to Cope 

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  This is part two of a four-part video series, ‘Have That Talk’.  As parents we may have questions about hour child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

How can I help my teen cope with stress?

One of the best coping mechanisms for teens or anyone to deal with stressful situations is to learn how to be resilient and Resiliency basically just means learning how to bounce back or deal with a difficult situation.  The first step to help your child or teen build their resiliency is by being there for them and letting them know that they do belong to the family and that you are there to support them.  So, doing things like having meals together as a family or just helping your teenager with their homework is a really good way to stay connected with your teen.

How can I model good problem solving skills with my teen?

One of the most important skills that we can help our teenagers learn is how to problem solve.  So, as a parent we tend to want to jump right in and help our children and solve all their problems for them.  We don’t like to see them get hurt or be upset, but in the end that’s not really doing them any favours because as they become older and turn into adults, we’re not going to always be there to solve their problems.  It’s really important that we model good behaviours with our teens and one way is to show them positive coping skills.  The best way to positively cope with a negative situation is to take emotion out of the circumstances.  So, it’s really easy to get angry and lose our temper, but only usually tends to make the situation worse.  So, for example, let’s say that Emma comes to you as a parent and says she wants to go to a friend’s place for a party that night.  Unfortunately you’re a little concerned about the party because there might be alcohol or drugs there and you tell Emma that you’re not that comfortable with that.  Emma’s response is, ‘You never let me do anything; I hate you!’  As a parent it would be really easy to get angry right now and just tell Emma to go to her room.  Unfortunately that not really a great way to solve the problem and it’s not modelling positive coping to Emma.   A better way would be to say to Emma, ‘You know, I really have some concerns about what might be going on at this party.  I’m worried about your safety, but I’m not going to talk to you about this if you’re going to yell and be rude’. 

How can I help my teen to move past difficult situations?

One of the most important things that we can learn and our teens can learn in a difficult situation is just how to be positive; how to make a positive out of a negative and we call that being optimistic or hopeful.  So, for example, let’s look back at Emma again.  Let’s say we have Emma and her friend Susan and they both tried out for the soccer team.  Unfortunately neither Emma nor Susan made the soccer team.  Susan’s reaction is to say, ‘Oh, that coach hates me; that’s why I didn’t make the team.’  On the other hand, Emma’s reaction was, ‘Oh, that’s kind of too bad.  Maybe if I take a year and practice more and get a little bigger and stronger I’ll try again next year’.  Emma has an optimistic or hopeful attitude about this situation and by thinking that way and behaving that way, Emma will be able to move on past the situation and it won’t become a problem or an issue in her life.

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

Part 3: How to Have That Talk 

Hi, my name is Kym MacAulay and I’m a Public Health Nurse with Ottawa Public Health.  This is part three of our four-part video series, ‘Have that Talk’.  As parents we may have questions about our child’s behaviour.  Well, today I hope to answer some of those questions for you.

How do I start talking about mental health with my teen?

As a parent it’s really important that you continue talking with your teen.  Sometimes you might need to look for those one-on-one moments that present themselves. Maybe when you’re making dinner, while your teen is doing homework, watching tv or even going for a ride in the car.  When you’re talking with your teen it’s important to remember to use straight-forward clear, simple language.  If you use big words or talk too much your teen is going to tune out.  As well, try to stay calm.  Getting angry and emotional in a situation is not going to help.  As well, don’t be judgmental.  So, instead of judging what your teen is thinking as an adult, try to put yourself in their shoes.  It’s really important to listen.  Listening is the most important part of communicating with your teen.  Try to share their feelings and try to be understanding.  Lastly, be very aware of your body language.  Having crossed arms or maybe a stern look on your face while you’re talking to your teen might tell them that you’re not really interested in what they have to say.  Sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. 

How can I get more information from my teen about their mental health?

As a parent there are some key strategies that you can use to talk with your teen.  If you do think there is a problem, it’s important to be sure.  So, for example, let’s take Jamal.  Jamal has come home from school one day and he doesn’t look very happy.  As a parent you should say something like, ‘Jamal, you look upset to me.  Are you upset?’  If there is a problem and your teen wants to talk about it, it’s important to validate and support how they’re feeling, for example, ‘Oh, I can see how upsetting it must be for you to have had that fight with your friend.’  Finally, if they do want to do more than talk and they want some help solving the problem, walk through some problem-solving steps with your teen.

When is it important to be firm with my teen?

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship and being a parent of a teen there will definitely be some conflict.  As a parent, though, you need to pick your battles.  For issues such as health and safety you may not want to compromise, for instance, you may not be comfortable with your teenage daughter walking home alone late at night; however, do you really want to go to war with your teen over how clean their room is? 

How do I stay connected with my teen?

As your child becomes a teen you may think as a parent that they don’t need or want you to be part of their lives as much as you were in the past, but in reality teens do really need and want their parents to be involved.  So now that they are older, you may think that you just leave them at their soccer game or at their swim lesson and come back and pick them up later, but in reality it would mean a lot to your teen if you stayed and watched that soccer game or their swim class. Go to activities that they might be a part of in school or even just sit down and watch TV or a movie together.

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health 
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.   

Part 4: What Every Parent Should Know About Depression and Suicide

Hello, my name is Michelle and I work for Youth Services Bureau.  This is part four of a four-part series on, ‘Have That Talk’.

What should I look for if I think my teen is depressed?

Teenage depression actually happens more than we think.  Experts say that one in five teens will access services unlike adults who can ask for help, so this is why it’s important as a parent of a teen or an adult who is in contact with a teen to know what some of signs and symptoms are.  There’s a lot of pressure facing teens today from the natural course of going through puberty to trying to understand who they are and where they fit in.  Teenagers express themselves in different ways.  For some teens, if they are feeling depressed, they might isolate themselves or they might feel a great sense of sadness.  Yes, those are symptoms of depression, but there are also signs to be aware of: increase in irritability, aggression and even rage,  loss of interest from the things they used to enjoy, problems as school, low self-esteem, tearfulness or frequent crying, withdrawal from friends and family, changes in eating and sleeping habits, restlessness and agitation.  There can also be a lack of enthusiasm, tired, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, reckless behaviour. 

What should I look for if I think my teen is suicidal?

Just as there are as many myths about teenage depression, there are as many about teenage suicide such as if you talk about teen suicide you’re planting the seed for teen suicide—that’s not the case.  In fact, the more you talk to you teen and you keep the lines of communication open and you are able to share your concerns, the less chances your youth is going to feel isolated and withdraw themselves.  Some signs might be: openly talking about death or dying, it could be writing about death or dying, feeling like they have nothing to look forward to in  their future, feeling like their future is bleak, there is an increase in weapons or there’s an increase of interest in weapons.  There are also other subtle signs that are very similar to depression such serious mood changes where a teen can go from feeling friendly or being friendly to being highly aggressive. If you think that your teen is at immediate risk of suicide then call 911. 

How do I have that talk about depression and suicide?

There’s actually four easy steps to do, using the acronym, TALK.  T, which is talk.  Offer support; talk to your teen and keep the lines of communication open being able to share your concerns with your teen.  A, for asking questions.  Be cautious when you’re asking the questions that you’re not asking too many at once.  At the same time, it’s okay to ask your teen, ‘Are you feeling depressed?  Do you have thoughts of suicide?’  L, listen to your teen.  Listen to them in a non-judgmental way.  What they’re feeling may not seem serious to you, but for them it can be really serious.  K, Keep at it.  Try and try again; if you’re finding that your teen isn’t answering you right away or giving you the answers that you need, continue to ask the questions, gather resources, stay connected. 

Where can I access mental health services for my teen in Ottawa?

Youth Services Bureau offers a variety of mental health services in both English and in French.  There is our crisis line, 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775 (toll free outside Ottawa), which is a 24-hour 7 day a week phone line.  There is our Youth Mental Health Walk-In Clinic, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. 2301 Carling Ave. Ottawa, Ontario, where individuals who may not necessarily need long-term, but need immediate sessions.  We also have our intake department, www.ysb.ca/mentalhealth,  613-562-3004, which meets with families for more specialized service, so if they are looking for family counselling they would connect with their intake department.

How do I support my teen living with depression?

Supporting your teen through depression can be a very bumpy process.  At the same time it’s important to be able to celebrate those successes.  If your teen is talking, that’s a success.  If you’re still resilient, that’s a success.  So, to be able to highlight those successes and to pay attention to them.  Just as it’s important for teens to have someone to talk to, it’s equally important for parents to have someone they can talk to.  This could be reaching out to a friend, it could be reaching out to a neighbour, it could be reaching out to a colleague.  One, where you can talk about how stressful it is or how worried you are.  Being a parent of a teen can also carry a sense of guilt; it’s important for self-care to be able to share what it is you are feeling; that’s really going to be what’s going to keep you going for the next day to be able to support your teen the way that you want to.  

Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa
Walk-in Clinic: Tuesdays and Thursdays – Noon to 8 PM
2301 Carling Avenue
24/7 Crisis Line: 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775
(toll free outside Ottawa)
www.ysb.ca/mentalhealth
613-562-3004

To find out more about mental health, visit: eMentalHealth.ca
Need more support? Visit Ottawa.ca/MentalHealthResources
haveTHATtalk.com by Ottawa Public Health
haveTHATtalk.com a special thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Promotional Trailer

Julie? Julie? Julie. Parents: Talk to your teen about mental health. Visit haveTHATtalk.com to find out how YOU can have THAT talk with your teen.  

For Workplaces

have THAT talk Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Videos

These whiteboard animation videos on the 13 factors in the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace will be a helpful resource for all workplaces in Ottawa.  Let’s keep the conversation going about mental health.  Each of the videos has a facilitator’s guide to help get the conversation started.  

Introduction

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Introduction video 

Organizational Culture

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Organizational structure video 

Psychological and Social Support

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Psychological and Social Support video 

Clear Leadership and Expectations

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Clear Leadership and Expectations video 

Civility and Respect

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Civility and Respect video 

Psychological Demands

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Psychological Demands video 

Growth and Development

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Growth and Development video 

Recognition and Reward 

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Recognition and Reward video 

Involvement and Influence

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Involvement and Influence video 

Workload Management

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Workload Management video 

Engagement

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Engagement video 

Balance

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Balance video 

Psychological Protection

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Psychological Protection video 

Protection of Physical Safety

Video Facilitator's guide: National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace [PDF 1.5 MB]

Transcript for Protection of physical safety video 

Resources

Do you want to address mental health in your workplace? Are you unsure of where to start?  Have you already started to implement the National Standard, but are not sure what your next step should be? 

For workplaces in Ottawa, contact Ottawa Public Health. Our Public Health Nurses are certified Strategic Advisors.  We would be happy to continue the conversation with you about mental health at work.  We can work with you to find resources that can help with your next steps. Contact our Workplace Health line at 613-580-6744, ext. 24197 or email workplacehealth@ottawa.ca.

Where to Get Started

If you are planning on implementing the National Standard be sure to check out these resources to help you get started:

  • The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
    The Standard is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors.1
  • Assembling the Pieces: An implementation guide to the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace
    This is a step-by-step resource for the Standard. It is geared toward senior leaders, human resource managers, and occupational health and safety professionals. It offers a roadmap to implementation of the Standard.2
  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)/Workplace
    The Mental Health Strategy for Canada encourages all employers to create and maintain mentally healthy workplaces. The MHCC is committed to helping them do that, by providing tools, information, and support. This is to ensure that every Canadian can go to work knowing their workplace recognizes the importance of psychological health and safety in the workplace.3
  • Guarding Minds at Work
    Guarding Minds @ Work (GM@W) is a unique and free set of resources designed to protect and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace. GM@W resources allow employers to effectively assess and address the 13 psychosocial factors. These factors are known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of workers, and the bottom line.4
  • Assessment Resources (through GM@W) 
    This is a great place to get started when assessing your workplace. There are free surveys that workplaces can use with workers and management to see how the workplace is doing in regards to each of the 13 factors. The employee survey is anonymous and the workplace will receive a report on the results!
  • Psychological Health and Safety Management System
    The implementation of a Psychological Health and Safety Management System is not about assessing an individual employee's mental health. It is about considering the impact of workplace processes, policies and interactions on the psychological health and safety of all employees.5
  • On the Agenda 
    On the Agenda is a series of videos, presentation slides and supporting materials that can assist trainers, team leaders, managers or others to facilitate discussions aimed at developing a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.6
  • Mindful Employer Canada
    Mindful Employer Canada can help workplaces work towards the National Standard. Find out how by visiting their website.

Ready for Action!

There are many great resources that are available once you are ready for action!  Do you want to work on mental health in your workplace but you’re not sure how?  These resources can help!

  • GM@W Action Resources
    These resources contain lists of suggested actions you can take in order to respond to areas of concern related to each of the 13 factors. Many of these actions have been effective in research studies, recommended as best practices or have been found valuable in applied settings.
  • Psychological Health and Safety Management System: Implementation 
    This resource goes through the importance of starting the conversation in your workplace to highlighting specific resources that can help with each of the 13 factors.
  • Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
    Improve psychological health and safety in your workplace. This website has free tools and resources developed to build awareness and promote mental health. Support employee success. All tools and resources are free. Use them to help make a difference.7
    • Managing Mental Health Matters
      Managing Mental Health Matters (MMHM) is a "first of its kind" program focused on helping managers, supervisors and other leaders learn how to effectively recognize and manage mental health related issues in the workplace. MMHMs uses a story-based approach, portraying realistic episodes of workplace "characters" dealing with situations common to everyday work life.8
    • Take Your Break
      Subscribe to weekly TakeYourBreak emails for practical and engaging break time activities that focus on improving mental health at work.9
  • Working Through It
    When someone is struggling with a mental health issue, you may be concerned about invading privacy or being seen as harassing. Working Through It provides practical coping strategies, through videos and related resources, that can be used by individuals at work, off work and when returning to work.10

References

  1. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Topics: National Standard [Internet]. Ottawa, (ON). National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace; 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 21]; [about 2 screens]; available from: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/issues/workplace/national-standard
  2. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Topics: National Standard [Internet]. Ottawa, (ON). Assembling the Pieces: An implementation guide to the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace; 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 21]; [about 2 screens]; available from: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/issues/workplace/national-standard
  3. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Topics: Workplace [Internet]. Ottawa, (ON). Workplace; 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 21]; [about 2 screens]; available from: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/issues/workplace
  4. Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction. Commissioned by Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, and funded by Great West Life Assurance Company. Hamilton, (ON). Guarding Minds @ Work: A workplace guide to psychological health & safety [Internet]; 2012 [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: http://www.guardingmindsatwork.ca/
  5. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Psychological health and safety management system [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/Psychological-Health-and-Safety/Psychological-Health-and-Safety-Management-System
  6. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: On the agenda [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/Free-Training-and-Tools/On-the-Agenda
  7. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/
  8. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Managing mental health matters [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: http://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/mmhm/
  9. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Take your break [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/newsletter/Healthy-Break-Activities
  10. Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: Working through it: a leader’s guide [Internet]. Winnipeg, (MB). 2015. [cited 2015 Dec 21]; available from: https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/pdf/WTI_LeadersGuide.pdf 

Transcripts

Introduction - transcript

Did you know that 70% of working Canadians are concerned about psychological health and safety in the workplace?

Psychological health and safety means preventing harm to mental health, and promoting psychological well-being.

Mental health and safety is just as important as physical health and safety... let’s face it... there is no health without mental health.

Learn how YOU and YOUR workplace can work to improve the 13 factors for psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Visit have haveTHATtalk.ca to watch the videos and to learn more.

Organizational Culture - transcript

 “Culture.” When you hear this word… what comes to mind?

Is it the differences in people’s beliefs?

Is it what people value?

Or maybe… it’s the shared expectations people have to act a certain way?

Now think of your workplace. How is this different from OTHER places where you’ve worked or studied? How were expectations different? Did your employer value different things?

The fact is … ALL workplaces are different. They ALL have their own organizational culture.  This means they ALL have different norms, meanings, values and beliefs. Different employers have different expectations of their workers. All of these factors help form “an organizational culture”. Workers use this culture to decide HOW TO act and HOW TO solve problems.

What does a POSITIVE organizational culture look like?

Well, let me first tell you a story.

This is LeAnne.

LeAnne feels constantly stressed at work. She feels that her work environment lacks respect, trust, and honesty.

LeAnne works very hard but feels that in order to succeed at her job, she has to fit in with the culture, or it may be considered a sign of weakness. She’s always in competition with her coworkers. Everyday LeAnne comes to work wanting to look for another job… somewhere ANYWHERE but here.

This was an example of what a negative organizational culture could look like.

On the other side of things, workplace cultures that ARE psychologically safe and healthy have trust, honesty, and respect… people treat each other with civility and respect. Decisions are made in a fair way.  People feel like they’re part of a team, working toward the same goal.

Some signs that you have a positive culture would be:

  • that people are satisfied with the work they do;
  • there’s great morale and teamwork;
  • and you feel supported.

A workplace with a positive organizational culture is somewhere where people WANT TO work and WANT TO stay. People in the community feel it’s a good place to work, even if they don’t work there.

So, what are some things that you can do in your workplace to help build a positive organizational culture?

Employees can try a teambuilding activity.

Managers can look at starting a mentorship program between emerging and more experienced leaders.

Everyone can help set the tone for positive organizational culture by:

  • Writing down what your company BELIEVES… what they VALUE…and what is the PURPOSE of the work you are doing.
  • Starting a walking group or activity during lunch. Getting outside. Connecting with nature. 
  • Taking your breaks. Have some time to connect with your coworkers or someone in your life.

Take some time NOW to write down what YOU are ALREADY doing to contribute to a positive organizational culture and what YOU CAN BE DOING. Even if it’s just ONE thing, YOU can make a difference.

Organizational culture is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Psychological and Social Support - transcript

Think of your workplace. Have you ever noticed a change in the way someone behaved? Perhaps they started coming in later… or maybe they were missing meetings or deadlines when normally they’re on time with these types of things.

What did YOU do in that situation? Did you speak to them about what you saw? Maybe that person was YOU and maybe you were worried what others would think of you. Did YOU feel supported?

Let’s look at an example. This is Eileen. Eileen has been a bit more quiet and keeping to herself lately. This is not typical of her.  She has also been coming in late to work. Her supervisor, Marco, is becoming concerned about the changes he sees. Marco takes Eileen aside and says, “You don’t seem to be yourself lately. How is everything going?”. Eileen explains that her partner has recently been injured and can’t work. She’s been feeling anxious about her family and it’s making her feel distracted at work. Since her partner is injured, she also has had double the responsibilities at home. Eileen now has to get her son to childcare before and after school, which is why she has been showing up late.

Her supervisor had no idea this was going on with Eileen.   As a supervisor, he can thank her for explaining her situation, which will help him to support her better while still ensuring that she is able to keep her work on track.

When we talk about “psychological and social support” we are talking about the level of trust and connections that exist in a workplace. It also refers to the level of help and assistance provided by others while performing tasks.

As a supervisor there are many things you can do to support your staff. You can suggest workplace Employee Assistance Programs… or EAP… that can help during times of need. There are also other counseling services in the community that you can recommend.  Other options include creating a “stay at work” plan that can accommodate your employee’s needs.

As an employee, be sure to let your supervisor know that you are going through a difficult time.  Even if you don’t want to share details, letting them know that you require support or flexibility to get through a difficult time can helpful. They might be able to give you the flexibility you need to get through a hard time.

So, what is ONE way that YOU can promote psychological and social support in your workplace TODAY?

Psychological and social support is one of 13 factors of psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk. 

Clear Leadership and Expectations

Think of a time at work when you were given direction that was UNCLEAR.

Did it happen often? Did it create conflict?

Clear leadership and expectations can make a BIG difference in a workplace. Take Tim for example. Tim wrote a report for his supervisor last week that he thought was URGENT. His supervisor returned his report with a note saying “Needs more work.” There was NO other feedback… NO meeting to clarify… NO phone message….NO edits on the document… NOTHING but the note. This is an ongoing problem in Tim’s workplace. Tim feels frustrated and doesn’t really trust his supervisor anymore.

What would clear leadership and expectations look like in a HEALTHY workplace? 

Well… everyone in a healthy workplace knows WHAT they need to do. They know HOW the things they do contribute to the workplace as a whole. They are told in a TIMELY way if there are any changes happening in with the workplace.

When workplaces have clear leadership and expectations:

  • Morale is positive even during times of change or high stress.
  • There’s usually more trust between leaders and workers.
  • And Leaders value EVERYONE’S psychological and physical health… and they model positive healthy behaviors to their workers.

CLEAR two-way communication is very important in a workplace.  Sometimes it takes time to get to know your supervisor and their expectations. Everyone in a workplace has a responsibility to ask questions if they don’t understand-whether you are an employee, supervisor or manager. 

As a supervisor, make it very clear WHAT you want, WHEN you want it by, and WHO you want involved.

As an employee, don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify. Being open to talking about the SIZE of a task, HOW LONG it should take, WHEN to ask for support…even just flat out asking “what do you expect of me”- are all helpful.

After watching this video, how do YOU intend to be CLEAR with YOUR expectations TODAY?

Clear leadership and expectations is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Civility and respect

Think of a time at work where you felt frustrated. How would it look like to others when you are frustrated or angry? Do you think your actions would be seen to be uncivil or disrespectful?

Even though we all have stress and moments when we aren’t our best selves, it’s important we make sure that we treat one another with civility and respect. This includes how we treat each other on a day-to-day basis, but also how we treat each other when CONFLICT arises. Do people try to calm the situation and explore solutions, or do they make things worse?

Civility and respect means showing appreciation, care, and consideration for EVERYONE, whether they’re coworkers, management, or clients.

When someone is not civil, it can be distracting, annoying or irritating behaviours… things like eye rolling when someone is talking or using lots of negative sarcasm. In some situations, being uncivil can escalate to more threatening behaviours such as racial slurs, intimidation, or physical violence.

Let’s look at an example.

This is Trung. Trung is new to Canada, and is learning to speak English. Trung has vast experience working with teams and projects. He has a lot of wisdom and perspective that he could bring to his team.

Now this is Sylvia. It’s Sylvia’s job to gather everyone’s feedback about the project. Before wrapping up the team meeting, Sylvia asks each employee if there is anything they’d like to add. When she comes to Trung, she lets him know that he can just watch until he knows more about the project. Sylvia doesn’t want Trung to feel pressured to add anything until he’s settled and feeling comfortable in his new role.

Sylvia may not be aware… but to Trung and his co-workers, this MAY have been seen as a LACK OF RESPECT for Trung’s abilities.

Trung has LOTS of experience.  Even though he is learning to speak English, it’s important to ask for his input. He may VERY WELL feel comfortable sharing.

If situations like this happen again and again, it could cause FRUSTRATION and lead to CONFLICT within the team.

In a psychologically safe and healthy workplace, people will work well in teams, and morale will be positive. This is because everyone has an underlying respect for each other. There will be less conflict and more effective solutions when conflict DOES happen.

As a supervisor or as an employee, we all need to be careful not to assume what people WANT or NEED. People see the world through different eyes.

We often say “Treat people the way YOU want to be treated”… but it’s really about “Treating people the way THEY want to be treated.”  

Respect the differences in people. This could be someone’s culture, religion, language, or even just their working style. Sometimes people are more direct. Sometimes people value the process more than the outcome. For some, building a strong team or having a vision of the future means more than just doing the work. 

Workplaces can also look into training and policies that help promote respect… such as:

A zero-tolerance policy for bullying,

Diversity training or

 Conflict resolution training 

What are some ways that YOU will help promote civility and respect? Write down one thing you intend to do in the next week.

Showing civility and respect is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk. 

Psychological Demands

Think about your job. What type of a setting do you work in? Do you interact with a lot people? Do you have to travel a lot, or work in shifts?

Now try thinking about another job. Maybe it’s paramedic services. If you were a paramedic would you struggle seeing people in distress? Maybe it’s a job in sales. Would you find it hard to deal with the pressure of meeting sales targets? Or maybe it’s a job in construction. Would the thought of working outdoors, around a lot of noise or dust, be stressful?

Every person has different things that cause them stress. Depending on your own fears, preferences and personality, you may be suited for certain types of jobs more than others. Every job has its own set of psychological demands. Psychological demands are aspects of our jobs that could be a hazard to our health and well being if not properly matched to our skills, knowledge, personality and emotional intelligence. When you are aware of the psychological demands of your job, it will give you the chance to prepare and respond to those demands.

Let’s look at an example. This is Pierre. Pierre works in a small business where he is expected to perform multiple tasks. In his current role, Pierre already has a lot of responsibilities with client accounts. Because Pierre has such a good relationship with his current clients, Pierre’s manager has asked him to also take on a new task of handling COMPLAINTS. Pierre handled customer complaints in his previous job… The lack of support from his previous manager lead to increased anxiety at work… which was one of the reasons why he left. Pierre is anxious that he will find himself in the same situation …AGAIN.  He’s afraid that he might start to dislike his new job.

So what could Pierre’s workplace do to support him?

Pierre’s manager could book a meeting with him to look at the psychological demands of his new role. This could include Pierre’s manager telling him the things that others have found demanding about the job. This will give Pierre and his manager an opportunity to review the new job expectations…They could discuss what Pierre needs to feel supported in his new role… perhaps he might need some job training. They can also compare the workload between his current and future roles. Pierre and his manager can talk about how his workload expectations will change, but still feel balanced, by taking on client complaints. 

 It’s important to Pierre’s manager that Pierre feels supported in his new role so that it doesn’t affect the great relationships Pierre has already built with his clients.

«As an employee, Pierre can also ask his manager for the support that he needs.  Sometimes, the manager is not aware what someone finds demanding.

We all have different personalities and different experiences that shape how we see the word.

If you need any accommodation to do your job safely, be sure to let your manager know.

Try making a list of the psychological demands of your job. Are there areas that can be made less stressful? How can you make this happen for yourself? 

Psychological demands is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Growth and Development

Have you ever had a mentor? Someone you looked up to at work. What types of things did they teach you? Did that relationship make you happier at work?  Did that relationship help you to do your job better?

Now think of the best training you’ve ever taken. Maybe it was at school, a workshop, or even just a presentation. What was special about it? Did you learn something new that you could apply to your job or maybe to ANOTHER part of your life?

All people have needs. We have basic needs like eating and sleeping, the need to feel safe, and to feel included, like we belong in some type of community… but we also have the need to grow… to feel like we have accomplished something… as well as the desire to learn new things and gain new skills to reach our full potential in life.

This is Tarek. Tarek works in the service department of a local car body shop. He enjoys working with his hands but he also enjoys being around people. He aspires to be the service manager one day. Right now, Tarek doesn’t really feel challenged by his job. He’s been assigned to checking tire pressure and oil levels. He feels this is a bit repetitive. How could Tarek grow and develop in his career?

When a workplace values growth and development, workers are supported with their goals… these could be to be better with PEOPLE skills, EMOTIONAL skills, or JOB skills. 

Employers play an important role in the growth and development of their staff. In Tarek’s example, there are opportunities that his workplace could provide, such as providing time or funds for training.  His supervisor could also help Tarek to create a development plan.  

What are some things that Tarek could do to be proactive with his development?

If Tarek’s workplace valued his growth and development, the first step he could take is to TALK with his supervisor about his goals. He could meet with his supervisor to learn how he became a service manager. Maybe Tarek could be given time to watch and learn from one of his coworkers who does more complex tasks. Tarek could take a course, or a workshop to learn more skills.

There are many things that employees can also do to promote their own growth and development.

Think of YOUR job. What are some of the skills YOU want to learn? How can you make this happen?

It doesn’t always have to be something that costs money. There are a lot of free webinars and resources available.

Maybe you could be a guest at one of your supervisor’s meetings to get a feel for what they do. You can learn what type of issues they face, and the job expectations that come with their role.

You could ask a leader to be your mentor, or job shadow someone in a position that interests you.

Perhaps you could ask to get more constructive feedback from your supervisor. Ask questions like “What are some ways I can improve in my role?” or “How do you think I can grow to take on more responsibilities?”

It could be that YOU’RE at the point in your career where YOU might grow by mentoring someone else.

Sometimes meeting with other workers just to talk about how you dealt with challenging times at work can help all of you grow together.

Depending on what else you have going on in your life; you may want to grow in ways OUTSIDE of work. Maybe it’s being on a sports team, or volunteering in the community, or taking a class in something you’ve always wanted to try.

What is one way that YOU would like to grow?

How will this help you to develop in your career?

What can you do TODAY to get started? 

Growth and Development is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at: MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Balance - Transcript

Think of your typical day. How many hours do you spend on work? With family and friends? Do you think you can contribute fully to all these areas of your life? What about your personal time?

Is YOUR workplace promoting work-life balance? Balance is present in a work environment when there is recognition of the need for balance between the demand of work, family, and personal life.

In addition to work, we often play a lot of different roles in our personal lives. Each of these roles has its own demands and requires our energy and attention. Maybe you are a parent, a caregiver to an aging parent, or you volunteer in your community. Even keeping up with tasks like laundry, dishes, cooking, staying active… all take up time and energy.

When workplaces value a healthy balance, employees tend to have higher morale, less stress and burnout, and miss less work days.

Given that workplaces can have varying demands depending on the time of year, or projects you are working on, what does a healthy balance look like? Let’s look at an example.

This is Liliana. Liliana works at a high-tech firm, where work demands can change depending on how many contracts they get. Liliana has recently been working longer hours at the office to meet a deadline.  She is becoming frustrated working longer hours than normal and not having as much time at home. Liliana is expected to meet the project deadline, but also knows her family is neglected… How can she balance these demands and how can Liliana’s work help?

Liliana can talk to her family about the deadline she has and that sometimes her workload changes, but it is not a regular expectation. She may have to work more right now, but once this deadline is met, her hours will go back to normal. After speaking with her family, Liliana can discuss with her supervisor that she needs to be home for some family meals, events, and at least an hour before her kids’ bedtime. She can ask her supervisor for help in managing the remaining tasks so she can have some work-life balance. They can discuss what tasks are a top priority. Or maybe extend the deadline to allow for more realistic time management. Perhaps there is an opportunity to work from home. Or maybe take some vacation time once the deadline has passed.

Other ways workplaces may support balance include:

  • Offering flexible working arrangements, such as compressed work schedules, working from home, or job sharing
  • Encourage management to not say that everything is “urgent”
  • Encouraging employees to take their allowed breaks such as lunch and coffee breaks
  • Encouraging employees to take their vacation leave and time off they have earned (or are given)
  • Making sure that overtime is not an every-day thing, but just needed under tight deadlines
  • Have on-site or nearby fitness facilities, get outside and use walking trails or do activities that can be done from their work area
  • Support staff to share accomplishments that are non-work related

Work-life balance is different for everyone. It’s important to know what this means to you and to have a conversation with your supervisor.

How will you improve your work-life balance in the next week?

Balance is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at:  MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk. 

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Psychological Protection

Have you ever had to report a problem to your supervisor at work? What about when you made a mistake? Or even when you wanted to bring up something that you weren’t sure would be a popular opinion? What about a time when you felt burnt out at work? Did you feel safe bringing this up? Were you ever afraid that this might affect your job in a negative way?

Does YOUR employer encourage or even appreciate workers who speak up? A workplace where you feel safe sharing ideas or asking questions, without being afraid that something bad may happen is a workplace that models good PSYCHOLOGICAL PROTECTION. Workplaces that value psychological protection value their workers’ emotional well-being.

A lot of times, we think of safety as a concept limited to PHYSICAL risks. This could be working with chemicals, in dangerous or high risk environments, or around infectious diseases. Safety isn’t always just about what might hurt your BODY, but also what might hurt your MIND. There are situations at work that can be harmful or unsafe for your mental health. Let’s look at an example.

This is Deepak. Deepak is not having a great time at work lately. Deepak is a creative thinker and usually has some big ideas. He feels that his suggestions are often brushed aside. He is not sure if that is because of the quality of his ideas or that his supervisor just doesn’t want input from the team. Deepak is even staring to think that sharing ideas might be putting his job at risk. He no longer feels safe. What could Deepak’s workplace do to make sure that he feels psychologically protected?

Although not everyone may feel comfortable doing so, it’s important that we all speak up. It’s also important for managers to encourage an environment where workers feel safe to speak up and be heard. Managers can also be the ones to approach workers and ask for their opinions. Allowing employees to contribute positive solutions and ideas leads to reduced conflict, fewer job-related errors, accidents or injuries, better compliance to rules and regulations, and reduced bullying and harassment.

Having processes, policies, and an organizational culture that encourages worker input and feedback is essential. It ensures that workers are contributing to their maximum potential and feel energized in their work. Leaders have a responsibility to promote, model, and reinforce these practices.

Workplace culture makes a big difference in how safe people feel. Embrace new ideas. See discussions as moments of learning, sharing, and collaboration. Embrace mistakes- that’s how we learn! Have opportunities for workers to have open and confidential chats with their supervisors. A culture of sharing can be embedded in your daily workplace environment, such as during meetings, while working toward project concepts, or even when working through deadlines.

After watching this video, make a list of the things your workplace does to keep you psychologically protected. What’s one thing you can do to make your workplace feel even safer?

Psychological protection is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace Learn more at:  MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca.

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada…And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

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Protection of physical safety

Think of your workplace. There are many parts of the PHYSICAL work space that can impact you. There can be some more obvious hazards that are part of your job. Do you work with machinery? With chemicals? Do you work outdoors? There can also be parts of your physical work that may affect you over a long period of time that might be harder to see. Do you work with computers? Around a lot of noise? Do you sit for long periods of time?

The truth is that ALL workplaces have physical hazards. It’s how workplaces are PROACTIVE to address physical hazards that help employees feel safe. Workplaces that do this well offer good protection of physical safety. When you think about it, your physical work space doesn’t only affect your body, but it could also affect your mental health. Working in a noisy environment could not only affect your hearing, but also your focus. Working with angry clients could affect your mental energy. Working with chemicals or machinery requires you to be alert.

Let’s meet Ayesha. Ayesha is a new employee at a manufacturing company. Ayesha has a lot of past experience working in manufacturing… the big change for her is that her new company uses different technology than what she’s used to. Ayesha’s supervisor puts her to work the first day, with a very short orientation session. Her supervisor thinks that because of her past experience Ayesha should know how to operate the heavy machinery and protect herself from harm and risks associated with them. This makes Ayesha feel stressed and anxious. This is really NOT a healthy OR safe situation for Ayesha and she feels like she is putting herself at-risk of harm. She is hesitant about speaking to her new boss about this as it is her first day on the job. How can workplaces make sure their employees feel protected from physical harm?

In Ayesha’s case, her new company would benefit from a standardized orientation training process. This would ensure that employees are aware of all of the risks – physical and psychological –associated with their jobs. They would then know the proper process to raise concerns, as and if they come up. A standardized process also ensures that everyone is on the same page... that they have been given the same knowledge. This is useful to ensure consistent use of physical equipment. More importantly, it enhances employee safety and productivity. Supervisors also need to check in with workers to ensure that they understand and apply to their job what they learned during training.

Some training is now required by provincial, territorial, and/or federal laws. Companies can also provide training to their staff about how their physical work space can affect their mental health. Letting employees know HOW TO report incidents, and also WHAT supports are available if an incident does occur can be reassuring for staff.

Depending on the workplace, the tools and environment can be changed to reduce risks or manage hazards to the employees. This could be as simple as installing proper lighting, reducing noise, having panic alarms, or increased ventilation.

Although a lot of the responsibility around employee safety is on the employer, everyone should play a role in physical safety at work. Employees also have a responsibility. If you notice anything that can cause harm in your workplace, be sure to tell your supervisor. Also, if you don’t feel safe doing something at work, let your boss know if you’d benefit from any additional training.

After watching this video, list three ways that your workplace helps keep you physically safe. What is one area that your workplace can improve on? Speak about it with your supervisor this week.

Protection of Physical Safety is one of 13 factors that support psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at:  MentalHealthCommission.ca/NationalStandard

For more resources for your workplace, check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Developed in collaboration by Ottawa Public Health and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

With content adapted with permission from Mindful Employer Canada

And support from Bell Let’s Talk.

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