Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace Amid COVID-19: Take Advantage of Benefits & Other Supports

Crystal Kehoe
January 25, 2021

We’ve all been affected differently by the pandemic—maybe it’s adjusting to a new work-life situation, the loss of a loved one, financial worries, or feeling down right lonely from being socially isolated from family and friends. There’s no doubt that the weight of this new reality can be heavy and significantly impact your mental health.  Forced to deal with these additional stressors while still having to work, you may be facing unexpected challenges with your emotional and physical well-being and need extra support while at your job. Because of this, there should be a renewed focus on the supports ,employee benefits and employee assistance programs that are available for mental well-being and to help build coping and resiliency skills. Families need to take advantage of these supports when they are needed the most.


Access wellness benefits for all family members


Employee benefits are a valuable asset for you and your family—and are vital right now to assist with mental health. Believe it or not, many employees are largely unaware of many of their employee benefits or forget to use them throughout the year. Familiarize yourself with your benefits package and consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider. That can be a massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncture, naturopath, psychologist, dietician, dentist or optometrist.


Use your employee recreation and fitness perks


There are countless studies linking mental and physical health.  While many people are hesitant to access gyms, you can get creative and buy fitness/sports equipment, along with a host of free resources online, to keep you moving. Regular exercise can help boost immunity, lower inflammation and may help prevent serious complications from the coronavirus if you catch it. A study early last year on COVID-19 suggests that exercise may help ward off serious complications from the virus.


Prioritize self-care


Taking time for yourself has never been more important and can be a big mental health boost, especially if you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed. But there’s a big difference between taking care of yourself and just vegging out in front of the TV. Your time off should not just relax you in the moment; it should recharge you, reset your perspective, and allow your mind and body to rest.  You might feel prioritizing self-care is selfish, but it actually makes us more available to being therefor other people. So, take a guilt-free, justifiable mental health day/personal day when necessary. Try doing a combination of anxiety-reducing activities, such as spending time with a friend or family member (safely, of course), squeezing in a workout, or catching up on sleep if you've been sparing lately.


Take a stroll every day


So long as you practice social distancing and stay six feet apart from others, try to get outside and take a walk during the day—even if it’s for 15 minutes.  Time spent strolling may have a positive impact on your mental health. Reducing anxiety, boosting your mood and lowering blood pressure are just a few benefits that are linked with spending time in nature. With many people staying home more than usual these days, getting out in the fresh air can be a great way to de-stress.


Reach out for help


If you’re struggling, please reach out for help. Check out the provincial resources below. You can also contact your family doctor or find a mental health provider like a psychologist. In a mental health emergency, call 811or 911.


Here are provincial supports to help you:


· Bridge the gApp

Bridge the gApp is a new way to connect with guidance and support for mental health and addictions in Newfoundland and Labrador.


· Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-737-4668


· CHANNAL Warm Line

This is a non-emergency, non-crisis telephone support and referral service
1-855-753-2560 or 709-753-2560 (in St. John’s)


· Doorways Mental Health Walk-in Clinic

Doorways is not an emergency service. It provides rapid access to mental health and addictions counselling services ‘one session at a time’. While most locations offer a walk-in service, some locations provide same-day, next day or appointments by phone. Walk-in counselling services are available without an appointment or referral.


St. John’s 

Building 532, Pleasantville (Back of building on Roosevelt Ave)



Labrador City

Mental Health & Addictions Department, Labrador West Health Centre
1700 Nichols-Adam Highway, Labrador City




Mental Health & Addictions Department, Nain Community Clinic
28 Ikajuktauvik Road, Nain

709-922-2912 ext. 212 or 709-922-2184

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