Mental Health Week - May 3 – 9
Let us be honest about our mental health during COVID-19: it has been a very rough year.
Yet many people shy away from recognizing the toll the pandemic is having on their mental health and from seeking help or exploring solutions. Some people feel ashamed. Some are in denial. And for those reasons, they prefer to “numb it.”
“Getting real about how you feel” is about being kind to yourself. You should not shy away from seeking help or from taking advantage of available resources to get through this, not now or ever.
Many people have developed symptoms associated with depression since March 2020. Meanwhile, others have experienced something close but different, a state of languishing that has left them lethargic, empty, and generally weaker than before. Letting those feelings fester can lead to a more serious deterioration of your wellbeing.
In 2020, Statistics Canada released a study on the significant increase of mental health problems during the pandemic. For many, the stress of family responsibilities coupled with teleworking make it difficult to balance the pressures of work and family life. The isolation, the added workload, the lack of support, the fear of the virus, and so many more situations are to blame for triggering negative feelings and getting us in a bad place.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more Canadians have reported experiencing one or many of the following:
It is normal to experiencing mental stress right now. The pandemic has disrupted our lives, and in some cases, has made some pre-existing situations worse.
The first step to take is to give yourself the permission to feel this way. The next is to familiarize yourself with the resources available. Letting negative energy linger could lead to devastating consequences. Take action.
Mental Health in the Workplace: Rights and Resources
An unhealthy workplace can trigger mental stress, which can lead to a more serious condition. Get to know your rights and the employer’s responsibilities to safeguard your health and safety, including your mental wellbeing.
The employer’s Duty to Accommodate is an employee’s right covered by the Human Rights Code. Mental illnesses fall under the protected grounds as a disability.
Read the Guideline for Psychological Health in the Workplace to access valuable resources regarding workplace psychological health.
The right to a safe and healthy workplace
According to your collective agreements, the employer is responsible for making workplace health and safety a priority. It is also mandated to consult with a bargaining agent about health and safety concerns.
Occupational health and safety is also covered in the Canada Labour Code. Part II of the Code outlines your right to complain about a suspected or confirmed unhealthy and unsafe situation. The internal complaint process for health and safety contraventions is covered in sections 127.1(1) and 127.1(3).
National Service Centre and OHS Committee
You can also call the National Service Centre at 1-800-463-1850 and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Committee in your workplace to inform them of the situation and seek further guidance.
You have questions? Contact your Labour Relations Officer (LRO) or your Local
Locals defend members' rights and interests through organization, advocacy, and consultation on behalf of their members and can help inform them on matters of concern and of interest in the workplace. In this specific case, a Local would work closely with the LRO to assist members who have been affected. If you do not have a Local and are dealing with work-related issues, you could consider starting one! Contact your LRO today to find out more.
- Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace
- Crisis Hotlines across Canada
- Resources – Caring for your Mental Health during COVID-19
- Get help with problematic substance use
- COVID-19: Mental Wellness and Personal Safety