Peter, our Life Skills Coach on what he’s doing to take care of his mental health, featuring his furry friend Jack.
CMHA Saskatoon’s Fundraiser Margot on how joy and laughter are getting her through these times. And yes, she is sitting on a swing while filming this video. The playground closures happened the day after this was filmed, how’s that for a little laugh! But the message remains the same – push yourself to find joy and humor where you can.
CMHA is now offering presentations virtually to meet the demand of our community during this time. For more details on booking a virtual presentation please contact Reanna Boschee:
306-384-9333 (ext. 223)
With a lot of resources having come out recently around taking care of our mental health throughout this period of social isolation, we also wanted to share what we’ve been doing to support our clients throughout this process. Many of our mental health workers see up to 20 clients a week. And even though we’re not a clinical practice, there is a lot of counselling that takes place in supporting someone else. So if you are a fellow mental health professional, and you are now caught in the tough spot of supporting your clients while keeping your distance, this may be the article for you!
And if you have any tips for us – we’d love to hear them! We are always looking for new ways to support our community!
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.
I cannot stress this one enough, and you cannot hear it enough. I know that logically you understand this, however, I REALLY need you to grasp this at all levels. The first couple of days of taking appointments over the phone, I was so concentrated on being the light for others, that I unconsciously pushed down a lot of uncomfortable and nervous feelings that I was having myself. In fact, by the end of the day, I found myself shaky and having trouble drawing a breath, yet I had no anxious thoughts that I was aware of. All this to say, that whatever is going on in the back of your mind, and whatever fears or questions you may be having, will find their way out in one way or another.
So take the time to sit, reflect, be upset, feel your emotions and fears, so that you really can be all in with your clients. This means that we also need to stick to our regular routines as much as possible, practice grace and love with ourselves, and understand that we are all dealing with this for the first time, and that we are not going to be perfect moving through this. That means that you, a mental health professional, are not exempt from feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or just ‘off’.
VALIDATE THEIR CONCERNS.
These seem so obvious, why am I writing them? But if you are anything like me, you know that a period of forced self-isolation is something that can be pretty scary to your clients who already isolate the majority of the time because of symptoms of depression or anxiety. And for us, it can be pretty scary watching the people that we have worked with, made progress with, walked alongside of, slowly slide back. So what do we do? We get on the offense. We try to make sure that they are still sticking to their routine. Getting up at the same time. Getting showered and dressed. Getting out of the house and going for a walk. Writing in their journals. But wait – if we’re allowed to be upset about this, then isn’t everyone allowed to be? YES. Allow people to feel what they need to feel, and to express that without a plan of how to wade through those emotions right away. Yes, it is super important that we are disciplined about leaning in to those positive coping skills, but it’s even more important that we allow everyone to be human first.
You do not need to be a beaming light of optimism in every phone call you are on, and that may not be what your client needs at this time. I have found so much connection with people in letting them know that you know what, I’m a little freaked out too. I too, am out of my routine and I’m not quite sure how to handle it. I too, stress ate an entire bag of jelly beans (and they weren’t even that good). Sometimes knowing that you’re not the only one who isn’t handling something well can be the comfort that you need that day. The other day I swapped Netflix recommendations with a client, and you know what, she had some really good ones. I hope she’s enjoying Love is Blind as much as I did.
WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.
One of the biggest things that have come out of client appointments over the last week, is knowing that we can get through this. In a time of uncertainty, I have been able to remind them of the hard parts of life that they have already walked through, and that they can do this too. One thing I know is that every single human being that is sitting here reading this right now, has gone through something in their life that they thought might break them, but it didn’t. And that means that we are stronger than we know. We can do the hard things. We have done the hard things, and we’ll get through this too.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN.
Everything feels out of our control. We know that. We know that we can’t go and visit friends like we did before. We know that we can’t work in the office with our team. We know that we are supposed to self-isolate and that means that a lot of things are out of our reach right now. But, there are things that we can control. Our mindset being one of them. Having a list of things to go to when you feel like your thoughts are spiraling can be super helpful. For me, when I need to get myself out of a rut, I love to turn up a song and make myself dance it out for 30 seconds. I can’t control everything, in fact there’s very little that I can right now, but physically moving my body in some way gives me the energy to challenge those thoughts that are really unhelpful at times like these.
KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENTS.
Since everything else has been feeling out of routine, I have been making sure that clients still have scheduled appointments, even if they’re over the phone. And I tell them that if you can, show up to these appointments as you would to the office. That means that you would likely shower, brush your teeth, have something to eat, and change out of those pajamas that you’ve been wearing since yesterday. Establishing some sense of routine is something that I can do for clients at this point in time.
I strongly believe that the one positive that has come out of this is that the meme world is on fire right now. If we can’t laugh about this in some capacity, it is going to be that much harder. Set the tone of appointments to be lighthearted and humorous if possible. I know that not every appointment is going to be like this, but you may be the only contact someone has that day, and if you can make them laugh, bonus points for you!
The cash calendar call for artwork is out! Amidst the chaos of the past few days, being able to focus on creating and celebrating the talent in our community is everything right now.
All entries must be submitted by April 15th, 2020. Visit www.cmhacashcalendar.ca for more details.
Hello from the home office of CMHA Executive Director: Faith Bodnar!
During our staff conference call yesterday – we felt that we wanted to step up our social media game and reach out to you in the ways we can right now.
Over the next while, we’re going to be featuring videos from each of our staff (some of us are a bit camera shy) on topics that are close to our hearts right now.
Faith is talking about working from home, and notice that she’s not giving you tips on productivity, but rather how to practice grace and love with ourselves and those we find ourselves in a close space with.
Let us know if this hits home for you!
Due to the threat of the COVID-19 virus, we have made alternate arrangements for our Wednesday night meetings. We are committed to helping everyone stay as connected as possible through this difficult time.
For more info please call Marilyn at 306-270-9181 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details are also posted on our ad on kijiji – Search “Saskatoon Depression Support Group”
We apologize for the inconvenience – but our primary concern is the safety of all!
CMHA is now offering presentations virtually to meet the demand of our community during this time. For more details on booking a virtual presentation please contact Chalaine Senger (returning in September):
306-384-9333 (ext. 223)
When we closed our doors in March, like everyone else, we had no idea what a return to work would look like, or when we would have the opportunity to be back at CMHA.
While we worked from home, we focused on supporting the clients that we work with every week, as well as those who were calling in crisis, needing more information, or just needing someone to talk to.
We are so happy to be returning to CMHA in a small capacity. Some of our staff are now booking appointments in office with clients, with safety protocols in place. We have each decided to do what is best for us, and our families at this time.
At this time, CMHA remains open by appointment only. If you are interested in booking an in person appointment with your mental health worker please reach out to them and see what services they are currently offering.
We are in the planning stages to bring back group programming in September and October.
Wondering what to expect when you arrive at CMHA for your appointment?
Please try to arrive no earlier than your scheduled appointment time. Knock on the door, or call your mental health worker to let them know you have arrived. After reading the screening questions, we ask that you put on a mask provided by CMHA (your MH worker will be wearing one as well), and your appointment will take place in the board room, where there is space to distance.
Appointments are limited to 45 minutes, in order to have time to wipe down common surfaces and clean before the next appointment.
We want to take this time to remind you that although things may look and feel very different, our support and commitment to our community remains the same.
Please refer to the resources below for more information on COVID-19.
CMHA Saskatoon Celebrates Mental Health Week May 4-10 and Honours Employers that put Workplace Mental Health Front Row and Center
After almost 8 months of planning, CMHA Saskatoon made the difficult decision to cancel our inaugural Mayor’s Luncheon for Workplace Excellence Awards on March 24, 2020. The venue was booked, tickets were sold, awards were ordered, and special guests were invited. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and plans had to change.
“There was no question we needed to cancel our event, but it didn’t mean we had to cancel the awards. This good news story needed to be told, especially now. Not only do the awards exemplify best practice in workplace mental health, they also speak to the capacity of employers to care deeply about their staff and contribute to the health of our community.” says Faith Bodnar, CMHA Saskatoon Executive Director.
Earlier this year, CMHA Saskatoon called for nominations for employers that demonstrate excellence in workplace mental health. We wanted to hear about innovation and commitment in creating and sustaining positive mental health in owner operated, small, medium and large businesses, non-profits, and government.
“We also want to recognize an employer that stands apart, not only in extraordinary workplace mental health but one that gives back to our city, helping make Saskatoon a healthier place for us all to live, work and play.” Joyce Meyers, CMHA Saskatoon Board Member.
(Video Message from Faith Bodnar, CMHA Saskatoon Executive Director)
(Video Message from His Worship, Mayor Charlie Clark)
EXTRAORDINARY AWARD FOR WORKPLACE EXCELLENCE
· Cameco – exemplifies an extraordinary, long term commitment and contribution as an employer and community leader. Cameco values and prioritizes workplace mental health and as a community leader Cameco works hard break down barriers, create awareness, build inclusion and reduce the stigma about mental health. Cameco’s work in creating resilient employees and vibrant communities reinforces the fact that work and community life are inter woven.
AWARDS FOR WORKPLACE EXCELLENCE
Small & Medium Non Profit
· Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – ensures that the values of empathy, compassion and respect are part of the entire agency and all that it does. Staff experience a judgement free workplace that supports growth and development. Volunteers
from all backgrounds are integral in bringing the mission to life.
· Crocus Cooperative – a member guided agency where a small staff of 6 work closely to develop meaningful and responsive programs and services for some of Saskatoon’s most vulnerable citizens. Crocus creates welcome and a safe space for all to share a meal, work, learn and grow. http://www.crocuscooperative.org/
· Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Society – celebrating 40 years serving Saskatoon, employees are supported to be their best individually and as a collective as they support people during crisis. This agency prioritizes employee mental wellness, skill development and team building.
· Boys and Girls Clubs of Saskatoon – continuous learning, leadership development, strength- based approaches, celebrating successes and building resilient teams are central to this agency. Serving thousands of participants while providing a diverse range of programs, Boys and Girls Club of Saskatoon helps strengthen families.
· Tykes and Tots Early Learning Centre – mental health and wellness are core to their children programs and their staff. Creating a health sense of community within the agency means everyone thrives.
· Gabriel Dumont Institute – prioritizes finding the right fit for an employee skills and capacities and the work to be done. As well, it’s important that each employee understand change management in this dynamic institution and how their work contributes to the larger organization.
· McKerracher Centre – focusing on staff and client wellbeing and offering a variety of programs and supports for those with mental illness and substance use issues and their loved ones. Staff work hard to create a welcoming environment for all, celebrating the talents and skills of staff and clients.
FACTS – Why Workplace Mental Health is Critical
· Mental illness affects 20% of the population directly and 100% indirectly – we are all affected.
· Mental health stigma prevents 2/3’s of people from seeking help.
· By age 40, 50% of the population will have had or have a illness
· Annual economic cost of mental illness in Canada is $51 billion, not including the cost of absenteeism from work due to mental illness..
· Mental Health Services are some of the most underfunded in our healthcare system.
· Depression is predicted to be the leading cause if disease by this year (WHO)
· 500,000 people do not attend work every week due to mental illness.
· In the last 4 years, the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board received 719 mental health claims. Since 2018 that is an increase of 2 ½ times.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: FAITH BODNAR AT 306-220-5201
The Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatoon Branch was established in 1948. We have grown and changed over the past 70 years, providing community based, mental health services and programs. We are members of the provincial and national CMHA federation. Our vison is “mental health for all”.
To view the certificates for each winner please click here.