Mental Health Resources for Workplaces

Managing through COVID-19: an employer's guide

This is an unprecedented time of change for all of us. Some workplaces are needing to drastically adapt the way they do business, while others have had to close temporarily.  Even though the current situation is new, you can still use proven mental health resources and strategies to support your employees.                                                 

Image of Managing Through COVID-19 Guide

Employer's Guide

 

The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace provides all workplaces with guidance on how to protect the mental health of their employees. This guide provides recommendations on how to protect your employee’s mental health during the time of COVID-19.

 

 

Coffee Break Conversations: Let's talk about workplace mental health 

Watch this video and learn some simple, yet important strategies for positive workplace mental health during the pandemic.  In the time it takes you to drink your coffee, or tea, or whatever you like, you can learn ways to support mental health in many different workplace settings.

Healthy workplace month calendar

Every year we celebrate Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month during the month
of October. This year is no exception and, with the COVID-19 pandemic creating
changes in working situations, it is especially relevant to discuss the importance
of a healthy work environment.
We all have a role to play in creating a healthy workplace and there are many
tools and resources available to support you. This calendar was designed to
highlight some of the amazing (and free!) resources and to provide you with
some tips to maintain good mental health during these unprecedented times.

Webinar: protecting the mental health of employees during COVID-19

 

Factsheets

Managing through COVID-19: small business owners need support too
Printable version of Managing through COVID-19: Small business owners need support too [PDF 10 MB]

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for many of us. While we are all in this together, we each have our own set of circumstances that brings its own set of challenges. Small business owners have faced exceptionally
difficult obstacles during this time, while showing flexibility, strength and resilience. Many have balanced the concerns about their business, employees, new public health measures and personal lives all at once.
Sometimes when people need to focus on so many different things, it can be easy to forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you need it will ensure that you are healthy and well, and able to continue to take care of your business and others. Below are some suggestions to help you take care of yourself.

  1. Take a few minutes in your day and do something that you enjoy – The stress you may be experiencing can be overwhelming and trying to keep a business afloat and your family supported during this pandemic can be very challenging. When times are tough, it is especially important to take some time out of your day to unwind and decompress. Even just five to 10 minutes can make a big difference for your mental health. Go for a quick walk to clear your head, read a book or play with your children – anything you enjoy and makes you feel more relaxed. Some people also find deep breathing exercises and meditation to be beneficial during a stressful day.
  2. Find out about government supports to help your business – The Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments have put supports in place to help small businesses. These supports can help you to manage your stress during this time as well as help you plan for the immediate future.
  3. Stay connected with your loved ones – We know that having connections with people in our lives has a huge impact on our positive well-being. We can’t get together with our loved ones like we used to right now, but there are still ways to stay safe, while staying social!
  4. Ask for help when you need it – Asking for help is a sign of strength! Reach out to someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to. It could be a friend or family member or perhaps another small business owner that can relate to what you are going through.
  5. Watch for signs in yourself that show you might be struggling and need extra help – It is important to acknowledge the feelings that we are having right now and pay attention to signs that we might be having difficulty coping. Some signs include things like difficulty sleeping, changes in your mood or increased stress and worry, and increased use of alcohol or other substances as coping mechanisms. There are mental health resources available in our community (see below). Also, you can access mental health resources for workplaces, including our Employer’s Guide as well resources and guidelines for businesses, by visiting Ottawa Public Health’s website.
  6. Remember, it’s ok to not be ok.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of courage. In fact, seeking support when you need it will benefit all aspects of your life including both your physical and mental health.

If you need support please call the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region at 613-238-3311 for services in English or French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 for services in French. These phone lines are your connection to mental health support and resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling sessions. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.

The Walk-in Counselling Clinic at 613-755-2277 offers free counselling sessions in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Cantonese and Mandarin.

AccessMHA makes it easy to find mental health and/or substance use support, services, and care. We work with you to refer you to the services you need from a network of partner organizations, all while supporting you through the process.

For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

Managing through COVID-19: tips for small business owners to support their employees

Printable version of Managing through COVID-19: tips for small business owners to support their employees [PDF 4 MB]

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide employers and business owners with many challenges. Some workplaces are needing to drastically adapt the way they do business, while others have had to close temporarily. Even though times have been challenging, there are actions that you can take to support the well-being of your employees and your business.

Small business owners in Ottawa have experienced great deals of stress
throughout this pandemic – between announcements and short timelines
to implement changes to still needing to support their families throughout these challenging times. Small business owners have also proven to be very flexible and resilient. Below are some practical suggestions to help business owners continue to adapt and support their employees through this situation.

  1. Keep your employees informed about new and upcoming changes as much as possible – When people are informed of what changes are coming and how things are being addressed, they are better able to cope with the change.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly about the potential for job loss and any plans in place to support your employees – If there is potential job loss in your business, transparency is essential to protect the psychological well-being of your staff. People need to know what changes to expect if they are going to be able to develop a plan to manage them.
  3. Inform your employees about the assistance available to support them from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments – People will feel supported when they know that there are resources available to them to help them get through this difficult time.
  4. Acknowledge the value of the work that your employees have already contributed to the organization – Demonstrate the value that your employees have contributed to your organization. For example, let them know that the work they have done has benefited their local community or your organization, or whatever the appropriate example is for your workplace.
  5. Acknowledge the many emotions your employees will be experiencing - This is not a normal time, and it is very normal for people to be experiencing anxiety and many different emotions at this time. It is important to acknowledge that and to know that you are not alone.
  6. Ensure that your employees know how to access mental health support – This is a challenging time for many people, especially those that must worry about their financial security. Make sure that you know about the supports and resources available (see below).
  7. Remember, it’s ok to not be ok.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of courage. In fact, seeking support when you need it will benefit all aspects of your life including both your physical and mental health.

If you need support please call the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region at 613-238-3311 for services in English or French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 for services in French. These phone lines are your connection to mental health support and resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling sessions. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.

The Walk-in Counselling Clinic at 755-2277 offers free counselling sessions in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Cantonese and Mandarin.

AccessMHA makes it easy to find mental health and/or substance use support, services, and care. We work with you to refer you to the services you need from a network of partner organizations, all while supporting you through the process.

For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

Managing through COVID-19: protecting your employees' mental health throughout the pandemic

Printable version of Managing through COVID-19: protecting your employees' mental health throughout the pandemic [PDF  229KB]

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide employers and business owners with many challenges.  However, there are actions that you can take to support the well-being of your employees, the most important part of your organization. 

  1. Provide your employees with the flexibility they need to do their jobs and balance added responsibilities - With the different measures in place during the pandemic, employees may have added responsibilities with childcare and eldercare as an example. Work with your employees to help them to balance their different needs. This could involve changing their regular shifts at work or working different hours when working from home.      
  2. Encourage your employees to take their allotted breaks and vacation time - While this is always a good suggestion, it is especially important now. We all need to take time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate, but it is even more necessary during this time of uncertainty and worry for so many. Even if we are unable to travel or do the things we would normally do on vacation, it is still important to take time to rest and be away from work.
  3. Ensure that COVID-19 public health measures are being followed in your workplace – Protecting the physical health and safety of those in your organization also protects their mental health. Following these guidelines will help people feel safer during this time and will also show that you care about your employee’s safety and well-being.
  4. Review your existing sick leave polices and benefits - It is always important for people to stay home when they are sick and especially during this time of COVID-19. However, this can be difficult if employees do not have enough sick days to cover the time off that they need to take. This is also an important time to review Employee and Family Assistance Plans and mental health coverage to ensure that your employees get the supports they need. For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English and French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.
  5. Inform your employees about the assistance available to them from the FederalProvincial and Municipal governments – People will feel supported when they know that there are resources available to help them get through this difficult time.
  6. Access and review trusted mental health resources to support employee mental health during COVID-19 – It can be challenging to know what to do right now to support your employees. There are many resources available to help. Below are some examples.
    Ottawa Public Health – Managing through COVID-19: an employer’s guide and our webpage, Mental Health resources for Workplaces
    Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Workplace Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders and the accompanying supplemental COVID-19 Playbook
    Mental Health Commission of Canada – Mini Guide to Help Employees’ Mental Health Through Winter
    Workplace Safety and Prevention Services – COVID-19 Mental Health Related Articles
    Workplace Strategies for Mental Health – Videos to Support Mental Health Through COVID-19

Managing through COVID-19: protecting your employees' mental health while working from home

Printable version of Protecting your employees' mental health while working from home [PDF 236]

During COVID-19 many workplaces have made significant changes to how they work. For some workplaces, this means having employees working from home. Teleworking allows employees to be productive and continue to contribute to their employer. However, working from home can be challenging for some. 
Many employees may not have a designated office space or the tools and resources they need to work from home. Many employees will be balancing childcare or other caregiver roles and responsibilities. Still others might find themselves working at home with no interaction with any of their loved ones. Now, more than ever, is the time to protect your employees’ mental health and safety.

  1. Ensure your employees have the tools and resources they need to continue to do their job – For many employees, working from home is a new experience. Ensure that your employees have the tools that they need to continue to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
  2. Acknowledge the work and effort that your employees are putting into adapting to this new situation - Many people find change to be difficult. This current situation is a change that no one anticipated and it is important to acknowledge and thank your employees for their efforts.
  3. Acknowledge the importance of the sacrifices your employees are making by working from home – Let your employees know that you see and acknowledge the challenges they are going through by teleworking. However, also let them know that there is meaning and purpose behind why they are doing this. We are all in this together.
  4. Encourage patience and humour from all your employees while adjusting to telework – This current situation is not normal and everyone copes with stress and change differently. Remind your employees to be patient with themselves and their co-workers.
  5. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support – Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides. For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English and French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth. For more information, visit our Managing Through COVID-19 An Employer’s Guide.
Managing through COVID-19: protecting the mental health of essential workers

Printable version of Protecting the mental health of essential workers [PDF 235 KB]

The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging time for many people in our community. There is a lot of worry and concern about getting sick, loved ones getting sick and an uncertainty about the future. However, our essential workers, from frontline healthcare, to grocery store workers, to garbage collectors, to postal workers are continuing to go to work to support our community. We all thank you! 

Now, more than ever, it is vital to make sure that as an employer or leader you are protecting the mental health and safety of essential workers. Here are some suggestions of how to support your employees.

  1. Set up your workplace to allow for physical distancing – Be clear and direct about the steps you are taking to keep employees and members of the community you serve safe.
  2. Follow recommendations from trusted sources such as Ottawa Public Health to ensure that your workplace is taking appropriate precautions – Ottawa Public Health has developed a website that provides up-to-date information to workplaces during the pandemic.
  3. Designate a ‘safe room’ where employees can go – In this time, more than ever, people need to take a step away from this current reality. A quiet space to collect themselves and to take time for themselves can give them the opportunity to decompress and to be able to continue working.
  4. Encourage employees to take their days off – Many people are working long hours during the pandemic. This makes the time that they do take off that much more critical to both their mental and physical health.
  5. Acknowledge the work and dedication that your employees demonstrate – Essential workers of all kinds are showing everyone just how much we rely on them. It is important now and every day to let them know that they are appreciated, and we are all grateful.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English and French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information, visit our Managing through COVID-19: an employer’s guide.

 Managing through COVID-19: protecting the mental health of employees who were laid off

Printable version of Protecting the mental health of employees who were laid off [PDF 237 KB]

Many workplaces were required to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. This adds a level of uncertainty and worry to an already challenging situation. As a business owner, manager or leader, there are steps you can take to support your employees’ mental health during this time.

  1. Keep your employees informed about new and upcoming changes as much as possible - When people are informed of what changes are coming and how things are being addressed, they are better able to cope with the change.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly about the potential for job loss and any plans in place to support your employees – Transparency is essential to protect the psychological well-being of your staff. People need to know what changes to expect if they are going to be able to develop a plan to manage them.
  3. Inform your employees about the assistance available to them from the FederalProvincial and Municipal governments – People will feel supported when they know that there are resources available to help them get through this difficult time.
  4. Acknowledge the value of the work that your employees have already contributed to the organization – Demonstrate the value that your employees have contributed to your organization. For example, let them know that the work they have done has benefited their local community or your organization, or whatever the appropriate example is for your workplace.
  5. Continue to reach out to your employees during this time – Where appropriate, keep in contact with your staff. Keep them informed of any changes that they can expect.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English and French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. For more information and resources, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information, visit our Managing through COVID-19: an employer’s Guide.

Managing through COVID-19: protecting the mental health of employees returning to work

Printable version of protecting the mental health of employees returning to work [PDF 235 KB]

As workplaces begin to reopen, many people will feel a sense of hope. However, there may also be a level of worry and concern that comes with the reopening. This is especially true for employees returning to work. As a leader in your workplace there are things that you can do to reduce your employee’s anxiousness or concern and help to protect their mental health.

  1. Set up your workplace to allow for physical distancing – Be clear and direct about the steps you are taking to keep employees and members of the community you serve safe.
  2. Follow recommendations from trusted sources such as Ottawa Public Health to ensure that your workplace is taking appropriate precautions – Ottawa Public Health has developed a website that provides up-to-date information to workplaces during the pandemic.
  3. Acknowledge the efforts made by your employees to adapt – In order to protect everyone’s health and safety, changes to the work environment must occur. However, it is important to recognize and appreciate the flexibility and resilience of your employees.
  4. Foster an environment of trust and respect to ensure that employees voice their concerns – Ask your employees to report any concerns they may have about their current working conditions and act on those concerns.
  5. Discuss the possibility of flexible work arrangements – Your employees may be balancing demands in their personal lives that they did not have to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Discuss ways to help balance these demands.
  6. Ensure your employees know how to access mental health support– Let your employees know about existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

For additional supports they can call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311 in English and French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 in French. Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling session. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. For more information and resources visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVIDMentalHealth.

For more information on supporting employees’ mental health, visit our Managing through COVID-19: an employer’s guide.

 

Employer resources

Information on COVID-19

Mental health resources related to COVID-19

Websites to support workplaces to protect psychological health and safety in the workplace

 Employee resources

Contact Information

Provincial Vaccine Information Line

  • 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm
  • Call if you have questions about Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination program.
  • Service is available in multiple languages.
  • Telephone: 1-888-999-6488
  • TTY: 1-866-797-0007

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Telephone Line

  • Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 4:30 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

Related Information

Other Languages

Automated translation by Google

akhbaar somali kuqoran
المعلومات المكتوبة باللغة العربية
简体中文资料

 

Contact Us