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Members reminded that mental health supports are available

When it comes to self-care, frontline workers would be wise to follow the rules of the sky: "Put your own oxygen mask on first."

Jul 31, 2020

24/7 work-related crisis counselling available to those who need it

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While more members are returning to the workplace after working from home these past several months, others have been working on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Both of these groups may be feeling heightened stress and anxiety for a variety of reasons. Some, like workers in health, may have experienced significant loss caring for patients who succumbed to the virus. Others may have contracted it themselves. It is not at all beyond reason to expect that some members may start to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some members, like those providing support services in schools and universities, have suffered job loss while others are concerned about returning to work in the fall while the pandemic shows no signs of abating. Members in corrections and community social services have continued to go to work every day while worrying whether they are bringing the virus home to their own families. Working parents of school aged-children are worried about sending their children back to school in districts that have received no funding from the province to ensure that classrooms are safe.

Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly fine to be apprehensive. We are living in extraordinary times.

The instruction that airlines give passengers travelling with minors is a good metaphor for front-line workers and self-care: “In case of emergency, air masks will drop from the ceiling. If you are traveling with a minor, please put on your own mask before helping the minor.”

While it’s counter-intuitive for parents to think about saving themselves first, you can’t save your child if you’ve passed out from a lack of oxygen. The same holds true for AUPE members. To continue providing the services and care that Albertans rely on, you’ve got to care for yourself.

If you’re comfortable doing so, talk with your co-workers. Many of them are probably carrying the same burdens you are. 

Remember that AUPE members have access to work-related crisis counselling through Solareh 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They can be reached at 1-844-744-7026.

Download a copy of the services available here. 

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