World Mental Health Day is observed annually on October 10, with the goal of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
This year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having to work and provide family care and self-care during these unprecedented times can be stressful and extremely challenging. United Nurses of Alberta recognizes that these events can affect our members in different ways and recognizes there is no right or wrong way for each individual to respond to stress and trauma.
In 2019, UNA released a manual to help provide members with tools, resources and information for addressing violence and abuse in the workplace.
The manual outlines the definitions of violence and abuse, as well as the language in UNA collective agreement and Occupational Health & Safety laws that are meant to protect employees in the workplace. The manual also includes forms UNA members can use to report violence and abuse, or bullying and harassment, in their workplaces.
A survey of UNA members showed workplace violence, harassment and other forms of staff abuse affecting nurses continues to be a significant problem in Alberta health care workplaces.
Close to half the working nurses who responded to the UNA survey in 2018 said they had experienced physical violence such as being pushed, hit or having things thrown at them at work during the previous 12 months. Almost 18 per cent said they had experienced physical violence at work during their most recent five shifts.
With increased pressure on nurses and health care workers during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in our hospitals and health care facilities, we encourage our members to stick together, be kind, and reach out to their coworkers who might be feeling personally overwhelmed by the rapidly evolving situation.
The health and safety of our members and their patients remains our priority, so UNA encourages members in distress to use the following resources to assist you with monitoring your own personal mental health.
Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642
Provincial: 211 (provides referrals for community, government and social services)
Addictions Helpline: 1-866-332-2322
Family Violence – Find Supports: 310-1818
Income Supports: -1-866-644-5135
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
MyHealth.Alberta.ca: List of Important Numbers