Many of us are adjusting to changes in our work, uncertainty, and disruptions to our personal lives. As we navigate these unprecedented times, it is important to consider ways to support your mental health and resilience.
There are many things you can do to make your mental health a priority. The first step is to understand the factors that contribute to overall mental health and those that make it more difficult for us to cope with challenges. Every November we focus on mental health during our Thrive campaign, but you can review those resources anytime including our Learn About Mental Health page, which has lots of information to get you started on your journey to understand mental health.
Getting support for mental health issues
There are many resources available to help you with the challenges you are facing. For example, through your UBC Benefit Plan, you have access to free and confidential counselling on a range of topics.
You might also be looking for support for a colleague, friend or family member who is struggling with various issues. Read more about helping staff and faculty in distress. The UBC Reach Out page contains both UBC and external mental health resources for all campus audiences.
I want to maintain or improve my overall mental health. Where should I start?
Visit UBC's Thrive site to learn about mental health through videos, infographics and interactive resources.
Take a Mental Health Self-Check assessment using the Mental Health Continuum Model (Mental Health Commission of Canada)
Learn about tips, tricks and ways to support your mental health:
- Online Stress Management Tool (StressStrategies.ca)
- Managing Stress for Better Mental Health (Tip Sheet)
- Things I Can & Cannot Control (Poster)
I’m struggling to cope with some mental health challenges and it’s starting to impact my ability to do my job. Who can I talk to?
Visit the Assisting Staff and Faculty in Distress webpage. Under the “Connect to Resources” heading you can find a list of both UBC and community resources based on your level of concern/symptoms.
Access your benefits to get counselling in two ways:
- Book an appointment with a clinical counsellor in your area and using your extended health benefits to cover 100% of the cost up to $2500 per calendar year.
- Call the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1.800.387.4765 [please note that this is intended to be very focused and short –term support and there may be a wait time based on your availability]
Connect with Stay at Work or Return to Work services:
You also have your union or association that can provide advocacy support if needed.
I’m concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a colleague. What can I do to help?
I want to speak to my manager or supervisor about my mental health. How can I prepare?
Learn more about how to talk about mental health and how to ask for help.
Access a Supportive Conversation Library for tools and strategies to support conversations when mental health might be an issue.
Register for free coaching sessions to help you prepare for difficult conversations.
I’m looking for general tips to maintain my mental health as a remote worker
Create and maintain a regular schedule and work routine – experiment and identify practices that support your productivity and wellbeing while working. Take your entitled breaks by blocking off time in your calendar. Include time away from screens. Take a look at our Thriving While Working from Home resources for more tips.
Find time to move in your day – Ensure movement breaks. Try walking during phone meetings. Take time to stand or stretch to avoid sitting in the same position for long periods. In short, find ways to stay active — the UBC Recreation team have some great resources to help you get started.
Stay connected – remote work requires intentional and planned communication in order to prevent isolation. Identify different channels available for communicating with your supervisor and colleagues and be sure to use them regularly.
Support your social wellbeing – Reach out and schedule time to informally connect with colleagues. Create space at the start or end of meetings for conversation. Attend virtual community events.
Create boundaries between remote work and life – have a designated space for remote work. Consider including your work hours in your email signature. Block off non-working hours. Leave work related equipment and materials in their designated space.
I’m working remotely and want to connect with someone to support my mental health
Access your benefits for counselling in two ways:
Book an appointment with a registered clinical counsellor or psychologist in your area and use your extended health benefits to cover 100% of the reasonable and customary costs up to $2,500 per calendar year.
Call the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1.800.387.4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com. Please note that this program is intended focused on short-term support, and there may be a wait time based on your availability.
Visit the Assisting Staff and Faculty in Distress webpage for a list of UBC and community resources that are accessible by phone or online.
Does UBC have any COVID-19 specific mental health supports?
Stay up-to-date with the latest information and updates on COVID-19 and UBC’s response. Visit https://covid19.ubc.ca/ for useful FAQs and resources for UBC faculty, staff and students.
Try to stay in contact with your colleagues and supervisors. During remote work, team collaboration and communication can become disconnected. Look for opportunities to stay connected and share concerns and questions through a variety of communication channels. Have patience with yourself as you adapt to new technologies.
Use this supportive conversation library to find strategies for having supportive conversations with colleagues, friends and loved ones.
Recognize the impact of isolation
Working remotely and physical distancing can lead to isolation and loneliness. Pay attention to significant changes in yourself, as it may be a sign that you are struggling to cope. If you become concerned, consider taking this Isolation Self-Assessment to learn more.
Care for yourself and encourage others to do the same
Stay informed by accessing a few reliable sources of evidence-based information, but limit media consumption. Be active. Calm your mind. Take your lunch break. Practice self-care strategies and encourage colleagues to do the same.
The Health and Wellbeing team also provides live facilitated workshops and webinars on various topics find them here
Additional learning opportunities: Mental Health 101, a free online course from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Access resources to enhance your mental health
Awareness of key resources and services available to support mental health and resilience is a great place to start. See below for general UBC mental health resources.
Consider taking an online Mental Health Check-in through the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Acknowledge that work will be impacted
It takes time to adjust to a new way of working and being. Certain aspects of work may slow down while others may speed up, priorities may shift, and people might be experiencing additional caregiving responsibilities. Remember that everyone is experiencing this together and can support one another.
How to build a respectful online work environment.
I’m looking for mental health resources for IBPOC/BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and/or disability communities
Access the Mental Health Resources for Diverse Communities guide. A list of BC-specific mental health resources and supports for specific communities including people with disabilities and those who identify as IBPOC/BIPOC, Indigenous, and LGBTQ2S+.
I’ve experienced a loss and need support with my grief
Learn more about loss, grief and healing with additional links related to types of loss, trauma, healing and additional support (Centre for Mental Health and Addictions).
Read about loss and grief related to COVID-19 (Canadian Mental Health Association).
Access your benefits to get counselling in two ways:
Book an appointment with a clinical counsellor in your area and using your extended health benefits to cover 100% of the cost up to $2500 per calendar year.
Call the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1.800.387.4765 [please note that this is intended to be very focused and short –term support and there may be a wait time based on your availability]
I’m struggling (or I know someone struggling) with substance use. Where can I go for support?
- UBC faculty, staff and their dependents struggling with problematic substance use can self-refer for group counselling and individual therapy through Boreal Wellness Centres.
I’m looking for mental health training and education programs
Visit UBC's mental health training, on-demand workshops and consulting services webpage for a full list of available training programs.
You can also search under "Wellbeing" in the Workplace Learning Catalogue for upcoming trainings.
I’m a UBC faculty/staff member with no UBC benefits coverage. What supports are available?
If you are experiencing mental distress:
- Access and Assessment Centre, Vancouver General Hospital: 604.675.3700 (7:30am – 11pm)
- Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Interior Health: 250.868.7788 (11:30-9pm) or Kelowna General Hospital 250.862.4000
- Mental Health Support Line: 310.6789 (no area code). This number will connect you to your local BC crisis line without a wait or busy signal, 24 hours a day, crisiscentre.bc.ca
Canada-wide (including BC)
- Crisis Services Canada (24/7): 1.800.784.2433, crisisservicescanada.ca/en or nearest hospital emergency department
- Kids Help Phone: Provides a texting option for Indigenous youth and adults to connect with a First Nations, Metis, or Inuit crisis responder. Youth text 68 68 68 and adults text 741 741 with the word "First Nations" or "Metis" or "Inuit" to be connected to a crisis responder from their nation if one is available (Indigenous crisis responders are not guaranteed but will be prioritized)
General mental health resources:
Canada-wide (including BC)
- Indigenous Mental Health Counselling and Crisis Intervention: 1.855.242.3310, hopeforwellness.ca
- Wellness Together Canada (24/7 access for Canadians anywhere in the world. Online assessment and connection to e-mental health resources, individual counselling by phone, text, video)
Support for managers and teams
I’m a UBC manager looking for resources to support the mental health of my team
Visit UBC's resource page of mental health tools and resources for managers, heads and deans.
I’m an UBC HR professional looking for resources for the managers and departments that I support
Visit UBC's resource page of mental health tools and resources for HR professionals.