COVID-19 and Mental Health @ Work
In distress? Contact your Employee Assistance Program or call 9-1-1*
Organization: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Date published: March 16, 2020
Employees may be experiencing a high degree of uncertainty, worry, anxiety and stress about the health and safety of their loved ones, and how COVID-19 (coronavirus) may disrupt their work and personal lives. It is important for all of us to acknowledge these impacts and to engage in an open dialogue about them, including on ways to maintain and support our mental health. It is particularly important to recognize and support those who are more directly involved in the management of the situation, and those who have been instructed to self-isolate or who are suffering from symptoms of COVID-19.
* 9-1-1 for medical emergencies only. If you are having symptoms and looking for health care advice, call 8-1-1 (where available) or your local or provincial public health authority.
Employees may wish to speak to their managers/supervisors, who will be able to advise them on what services are available to them, as well as various working options.
Confidential short-term or crisis counselling
Access confidential, short-term or crisis counselling 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers services by phone, in person and through e-counselling. Contact your departmental coordinator (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) for more information.
Specialized Organizational Services
Health Canada delivers a range of Specialized Organizational Services that includes counselling supports beyond core EAP services to federal organizations, such as:
- Supporting employees engaged in incident response and working in other high-stress environments
- Supporting responses to critical workplace incidents
- Providing grief and loss support related to challenging situations or events in the workplace
Access health care
Your Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) covers some prescription and medical expenses, including psychological services. Enrollment, coverage information and more is available on the PSHCP website or through SunLife Financial directly.
Public service employees should follow the advice provided by the Government of Canada to the general population. Information specific to federal public servants, including frequently asked questions, is also available on the GCintranet. Employees may also consult their union representative as needed.
Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health
- Get information from reliable sources, such as Canada.ca/coronavirus.
- Stay informed but follow news coverage about COVID-19 in moderation. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to step back and consider how to take advantage of unexpected flexibility in your daily routine.
- Stay connected. Talk to friends or family about your feelings and concerns.
- Maintain healthy relationships and respect other people’s feelings and decisions.
- Show support and empathy to those dealing with difficult situations.
- Identify what is within your control and try to direct your energy towards what most worries you within your own control.
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