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  • Helping Employees Be Financially Fit

    Employers are becoming increasingly aware of how personal financial difficulty is affecting performance at work, and ultimately, the bottom line. Employees who are stressed because of their finances are less able to focus on career and personal goals, are less able to communicate effectively and request more time off to attend to personal, legal, and medical matters. Financial stress can affect employees at any income level – it’s not how much you make, it’s what you do with what you’ve got. Employers are not only in a key position to provide money management information and assistance to employees; they will also benefit directly if they do. Benefits to Employers of Financially Fit Employees Include: Increased productivity – employees are less distracted and are better able to stay focused on company objectives Decreased stress related illnesses and absenteeism, incl. substance abuse, accidents on and off the job, tardiness Decreased HR costs – fewer garnishments, pay advance requests, use of assistance programs Decreased theft – not theft with malicious intent, but more out of desperation, e.g. “borrowing” money to make ends meet until next payday Increased ability to communicate and cooperate effectively with colleagues and to take instruction from supervisors Early Signs of Financial Difficulty Continually carrying debt on credit cards, depending on overdrafts or lines of credit to make ends meet, using one form of credit to pay for another, hiding spending from a partner or using credit to pay for essential living costs are some of the early indications that someone may be heading for financial difficulty. Signs of more serious financial difficulty can quickly follow – receiving past due letters and collection calls at home or work, sleepless nights due to financial worries or legal action by creditors. Pay cheques don’t come with instructions – it’s up to us to learn sound money management skills and enjoy reaping the rewards! As working adults, we are expected to be able to manage our finances responsibly. However, many people aren’t taught how to do this. It’s never too late to learn how to build a budget, use credit wisely, stay out of debt and save for the future – all of which fit hand in hand with developing a good financial plan for our money. These are the main reasons we see why someone experiences financial difficulty: Lack of financial education or understanding of how to budget Unexpected Injury or Illness Unexpected separation from partner An excessive use of credit, or using credit for living expenses Having high loans and debt, such as student loans or car payments High housing costs Underemployment or unemployment Recognize Possible Indications of Financial Difficulty, Including: Unexplainable or frequent calls at work Repeated confirmation of employment / income requests Requests for time off to deal with legal matters Moodiness or depression Different interactive / social behaviour in the office, e.g. previously was happy to chat with colleagues but now is much quieter Physical signs of stress, e.g. a more unkempt look than previously, tiredness, nervousness, irritability Sudden inability to problem solve or conduct objective analyses Have Resources Available to Help Your Employees Ensure your company has an EAP provider and that they are able to assist clients in personal or financial matters. Have a list of reputable sources of assistance handy and made centrally available for employees to access confidentially. Know that your employees have the rights and responsibilities around debt collection. Set healthy professional boundaries - upsetting calls at work are unnecessary. Support an employee's efforts to living within their means by reviewing office practices - Is eating out for lunch the norm? Are dress codes in line with salaries? Are there solutions for these situations, such as having a friendly lunch room to dine in? Coming to an employer is usually a last resort. Most people experiencing financial difficulty will have already exhausted any conventional options available to them. If an employee comes to you, try to be as flexible as possible and try to accommodate their request for assistance, e.g. to change their payroll account on short notice. They may need to do this to avoid an offset or to deal with legal matters. What Employees Can Learn to Do to Help Themselves Tips to Avoid Common Credit Pitfalls Make it a habit to pay bills on time Keep paperwork and personal documents organized and up to date File personal income tax on time every year Be conscious of the cost of borrowing Make choices that are consistent with predetermined goals Pay credit cards in full every month Have savings to pay for unexpected expenses – avoid depending on credit in a crisis Develop a workable budget and review it periodically to determine if it is still helping you achieve your goals FSEAP's Financial Coaching & Credit Counselling FSEAP's Financial Coaching and Credit Counselling service offers consultations with CPAs and Certified Credit Counsellors to assist with taxes, accounting, budgeting, setting financial goals, and debt management. FSEAP clients have two options based on their needs. Financial Counselling offers ongoing financial and personal support, while Financial Consultation can provide quick, practical answers to common financial questions and concerns. Counselling is available both in person and by phone, while a 45-minute Financial Consultation is just a phone call away. Take control of your financial future today. Contact your EAP to get started. This article is originally published by Credit Counselling Society and Credit Counselling Canada.

  • How to Optimize Your Workplace Wellness Program for the Future

    Workplace wellness programs are not only beneficial for employees, but also for employers. They can improve employee health, happiness, productivity, engagement, retention, and loyalty. They can also reduce absenteeism, turnover, healthcare costs, and workplace injuries. Not all wellness programs are created equal though, they are often outdated, ineffective, or irrelevant for the changing needs and preferences of today’s workforce. It’s important to periodically review and evaluate your wellness program and adjust as needed. Stepping back and identifying gaps and/or redundancies in your current wellness structure can help you develop an agile, equitable, inclusive program designed for the workforce of the future. Here are some steps you can take to optimize your wellness program: Conduct a needs assessment. Assess the current state of wellness and well-being in the organization. Find out what their health goals, challenges, interests, and preferences are. You can also use data from your existing wellness program, such as participation rates, feedback, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI) to identify what works and what doesn’t. Design the desired state of wellness and wellbeing in your organization. Based on the needs assessment, set clear and realistic goals for your wellness program. What do you want to achieve? How will you measure success? How will you align your wellness program with your organizational vision, mission, values, and culture? Choose the right interventions and incentives. Select the wellness activities and benefits that best suit your employees’ needs and preferences. You can use a variety of approaches, such as education, coaching, counseling, fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, stress management, financial wellness, social wellness, etc. You can also offer incentives to motivate and reward employees for participating in the wellness program, such as recognition, prizes, discounts, vouchers, etc. Communicate and promote your wellness program. Make sure your employees are aware of and informed about your wellness program. Use multiple channels and methods to communicate and market your wellness program, such as newsletters, emails, posters, flyers, intranet, social media, etc. You can also use testimonials, stories, events, challenges, contests, etc. to create buzz and excitement around your wellness program. Implement and monitor your wellness program. Execute your wellness program according to your plan and budget. Provide adequate resources and support for your employees to participate in the wellness program. Monitor the progress and performance of your wellness program using the metrics you defined earlier. Collect feedback from your employees and stakeholders on their satisfaction and experience with the wellness program. Evaluate and improve your wellness program. Analyze the data and feedback you collected from your wellness and well-being programs. Assess the impact and ROI of your wellness program on employee health and well-being as well as organizational outcomes. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your wellness program. Make recommendations and suggestions for improvement based on the results and best practices. From wellness program to a culture of well-being A one-size-fits-all generic approach to wellness does not meet employees where they are and will therefore often miss the mark. If we want to optimize employee well-being we need to create a workplace culture that support well-being by prioritizing people and purpose over processes, venture beyond traditional norms, and meets employees where they are at. Coaches, experts and counselors are a critical resource to guide employees in developing strategies and skills for their own situations, strengths and values. Optimizing your workplace wellness program for the future is not only good for your employees, but also for your organization. By following the 6 steps listed in this blog, you can create a wellness program that is relevant, effective, engaging, inclusive, and sustainable. Don’t wait any longer. Contact FSEAP to start optimizing your wellness program today. This article was originally written by 12 Weeks to Wellness.

  • Supporting Employee Well-Being: 5 Strategies to Nurture Mental Health During the Holiday Season

    The holiday season brings joy and festivities, but it can also be a time of increased stress and emotional strain for many individuals, especially in the workplace. Organizations have a pivotal role in supporting their employees' mental health during this period. Here are five effective strategies for companies to care for their employees' well-being during the holidays: 1. Flexibility and Understanding: Recognize that the holiday season can be overwhelming for some employees. You can offer flexibility in work schedules where possible and allow for time off or adjusted hours to accommodate personal commitments or family events. This flexibility demonstrates empathy and understanding of the diverse needs of your workforce during this time. 2. Remind of Support Services: Reiterate the availability of mental health resources and support services. Make sure that employees are aware of the resources available and how to access them, such as FSEAP’s Resource Kits, Counselling, WorkLife Supports, e-Courses, online Self-Help Resources, and more! Communicating these supports clearly will emphasize your organization’s commitment to supporting employees' mental well-being. 3. Encourage Time Off and Boundaries: Advocate for the importance of taking time off to recharge. You can encourage employees to use their vacation days and emphasize the importance of setting boundaries between work and personal life. Discourage the expectation of constant connectivity during time off, allowing employees to fully disconnect and enjoy their holiday break. 4. Organize Stress-Relief Activities: Arrange stress-relief activities or initiatives within the workplace. This could include mindfulness sessions, yoga classes, or team-building exercises focused on relaxation and reducing stress. Providing opportunities for employees to unwind and practice self-care can significantly alleviate holiday-related stress. 5. Show Appreciation and Gratitude: Express gratitude and appreciation for your employees' hard work and dedication throughout the year. A simple thank-you note, a small token of appreciation, or a heartfelt message acknowledging their efforts can go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment during the holiday season. By implementing these strategies, organizations can create a supportive and compassionate environment that prioritizes employee mental health during the holidays. Investing in employees' well-being not only cultivates a healthier workforce but also strengthens loyalty, engagement, and productivity within the organization. This holiday season, let's celebrate not just the festivities but also the well-being of those who contribute to the success of our workplaces.

  • Psychological Safety: An Essential Ingredient for Healthy Workplaces

    For many of us, a substantial portion of our lives are spent at work. There are many key ingredients that go into crafting a healthy workplace that supports a thriving organization. One essential component? Psychological safety. What is psychological safety? Psychological safety revolves around feeling secure enough to take interpersonal risks, such as: Speaking up Sharing ideas Expressing concerns Dissenting respectfully Admitting mistakes A psychologically safe workplace is about fostering a work culture that encourages these behaviors without the fear of damaging one’s self-image, reputation, status, or career. This type of workplace promotes growth, learning, and positive change for the individual and the workplace, while positively motivating employees to engage actively and authentically at work. Why does psychological safety at work matter? Research shows a tangible impact of psychological safety on: Better collaboration Heightened trust Increased engagement in training and quality assurance Enhance job satisfaction Improved overall performance A lack of psychological safety also unsurprisingly directly correlates with stress, burnout, and higher job turnover rates. How can you help build psychological safety at work? While psychological safety is not solely reliant on personal traits, cultivating a safe and supportive work environment can still depend on your general attitude toward work. For example, you may experience a higher level of safety and satisfaction if you have a “growth mindset” - meaning you see skills as something that can be learned and improved on with effort rather than a fixed innate talent, and that mistakes are essential to learning rather than signs of inadequacy. However, even if you have these traits, a supportive workplace culture is still important for a thriving workplace. Something else to be mindful of are the diverse cultures and backgrounds in the workplace. Certain communities, such as BIPOC, experience different social stigmas and standards compared to others. Keeping in mind how different cultures may understand and define inclusion can greatly impact your organization’s approach to psychological safety. Building psychological safety from a leadership position: The way that leaders approach and interact with employees sets the foundation for the team. Here are a few tips on how to build a psychologically safe workplace: Prioritize relationship-building, equity, and inclusivity. Trust is established by being consistent, supportive, and fair. Embrace a growth mindset when interacting with your team. Encourage initiative, effort, and improvements, and view mistakes as opportunities for collaboration and growth. Provide clear expectations and structure. Lead by example: share ideas, voice opinions respectfully, and own up to mistakes without self-criticism. Exhibiting strong leadership behaviors can influence employees positively. Get to know people who report to you and build trust by being consistent, supportive, and responding with empathy. Understand when employees share their personal challenges and encourage self-care and boundaries. Learn about your team’s strengths and limitations and provide equal opportunities and reasonable accommodations that can help your team thrive. If you’re not in a leadership role: Many of the same suggestions still apply! As an employee, you can build a culture of greater psychological safety by: Focus on fostering relationships with your colleague through kindness and support. Develop a growth mindset, and treat mistakes as learning opportunities and be thoughtful about what led to them. Model behavior you want to see by taking interpersonal risks and sharing thoughts and ideas - unless your workplace penalizes such actions. In that case, this is a good opportunity to advocate for policies and practices that support workplace psychological safety, Building psychological safety takes time and dedication, but the payoff is invaluable. A healthier workplace that allows authenticity and active engagement is a workplace that can flourish - it’s an investment well worth making. This article was inspired by MindBeacon.

  • How to talk with an employee or colleague about their mental health

    Written by Gregg Taylor, Regional Director of FSEAP Deciding to talk with someone out of concern for their mental health, especially an employee or colleagues, may feel daunting. You may wonder what's appropriate to say, whether you will come across as judgmental, or fear that you will 'get it wrong' or misinterpret what you are seeing. The reality is that if someone is struggling with personal distress or mental health concerns, open non-judgmental communication and connecting is what they need most - as no amount of hiding will help them feel better or deal with their challenges effectively. At some point, it’s much better to deal with a suspected problem directly and offer what may be much needed help or support. Everyone needs help sometimes. Below are a number of tips and strategies for recognizing when an employee or colleague might need a helping hand, and describes how to reach out in a way that is respectful and supportive. Here are a few signs that things may not be going well for an employee or colleague: arriving late for work more often than not (or not checking in regularly if working remotely) frequently calling in sick making up excuses for overreacting or becoming more angry than the circumstance warrants not remembering what to do or not being able to concentrate making excessive mistakes - or performing inconsistently or below normal levels shifting unexpectedly from easy-going to grouchy; becoming difficult to be around, snapping at colleagues for no reason avoiding responsibility, or refusing to take responsibility avoiding socializing and withdrawing from normal conversation showing up at work with signs fatigue or exhaustion The iceberg analogy - behaviours seen, underlying causes unseen. Knowing when and how to help. So, what do you do when you think someone might need a helping hand and you’re willing to offer them yours? Before you do anything, first check in with yourself. Is this the best time for you to have this conversation? Are you feeling calm enough, well enough, strong enough? If you are, great! If not, take a moment to get grounded yourself so you can focus on the other person in the moment. Be prepared for a variety of responses. They might be open to talking to you, or may become emotional or even respond with anger or defensiveness, not ready to hear what you have to say. They might be offended and suggest you've made a mistake, or tell you to mind your own business. Whatever their response, it’s important that you know and maintain your own boundaries, and respect the other person’s willingness or unwillingness to accept your support. You are simply trying to state what you’re observing, and offering support in response. Follow these five steps to lend a helping hand: Ask if your employee/colleague is willing to chat with you. Find a quiet space that’s private for this conversation, or ensure there is privacy (on both ends) of a phone or video call. Focus the discussion on what you’ve noticed - changes in behaviour, appearance, performance, or attitude - and share your concern for their well-being. Leave room for a response and listen to them without judgment. This is crucial, and will go a long way to inviting openness and sharing. (If they aren't ready or willing to talk, remind them that you are there to talk and listen any time.) Ask them what they need and how you can help. Reassure them that you will respect confidentiality. Depending on the issues that surface, suggest they access appropriate professional support, and remind/inform them of any available services such as their EAP, extended health benefits, or other community health services. If they are reluctant to call or reach out on their own, suggest you make the initial call together. Remember, you're not there to diagnose the problem. It’s not on you to diagnose any issue, or provide counselling. You are offering a helping hand to someone you’re concerned about, suggesting suitable help, and fulfilling your mandate as a manager which is to: ensure the psychological health & safety of your employee or colleague confirm that their well-being is appropriately supported verifying that they can continue to work safely and taking appropriate action to address any issues related to poor performance and the well-being of the overall team. While you should always emphasize that sharing personal information is voluntary, and that a person can maintain their privacy, as a manager you may need to establish a performance management plan if changes in workplace behaviour have become an issue of concern. Giving and receiving help. Remember, it's completely reasonable for you to ask for support before, during, and after this process as well. Consult with your manager, an appropriate leader, HR staff, or your EAP, for guidance and feedback on your approach. Author: Gregg Taylor is Regional Director of Family Services Employee Assistance Programs (fseap). Gregg is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and is a leader in the workplace mental health and wellness field. His specializations include Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace, Wellness programs based on the principles of 'Workplace Psychological Wellness and Mental Fitness', and evidence-based positive psychology practices that contribute to healthy and effective workplaces.

  • Mental Health Matters: 6 Steps Organizations Can Take to Create a More Supportive and Compassionate

    Mental health concerns cost Canadian employers billions of dollars in absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover. As we spend a significant portion of our lives at work, it is essential that mental health conversations become apriority in every workplace. These conversations can help to promote a healthier and more productive work environment. There are many things that you can do to increase employee wellness and mental health. Here are six approaches for creating a supportive workplace culture around mental health. 1. Raise Awareness Raising awareness is the first step to identifying and recognizing the importance of mental health and workplace wellness in the organization. This can be done through educational campaigns, training sessions, and workshops throughout the organization. Providing resources and information to employees on how to recognize the signs of mental health issues, how to seek help, and how to support colleagues who are struggling can destigmatize mental health and facilitate open conversations at the workplace. 2. Create a Supportive Work Environment Employees are more likely to feel positive and motivated when they feel supported by their workplace. Encourage employees by providing opportunities to express their opinions and concerns, engage in open communication and feedback, and participate in activities that foster a sense of community and belonging. This can be achieved through team-building ventures, social gatherings, and other initiatives to bring employees together. Keep in mind that personality and communication styles can differ vastly when it comes to the topic of mental health and wellness at the workplace. Consider catering to both introverted and extroverted personality types by offering a variety of ways to express feedback. This could include online surveys, one-on-one or group discussions, or anonymous suggestion boxes. 3. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements Flexible work arrangements can help reduce workplace stress and improve work-life balance. Remote work, flexible hours, and compressed work weeks allow employees to work in a way that suits their individual needs and circumstances, which can lead to greater job satisfaction. Studies have shown that a 4-day workweek improves productivity, morale, employee retention, work-life balance, and overall happiness. 4. Promote Self-Care and Well-Being Encourage and educate employees on various ways to practice self-care and prioritize their well-being. You can offer workshops or training courses on topics that involve both mental and physical aspects, as both areas contribute to overall wellness. This may include mindfulness, stress management, nutrition, relationship, mindset, exercise, or family resources. FSEAP offers comprehensive service options and programs for all of the above topics, along with monthly newsletters, nutrition tips, and worksheets to distribute to your employees. 5. Provide Access to Mental Health Resources Counselling and support groups are important parts of mental health management and recovery. Not only can professionals help us feel heard and understood, but they can also help us explore and identify our thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behavior, allowing us to learn new coping skills or management techniques. These services can be provided through your EAP. Along with newsletters and tip sheets, FSEAP offers 24/7 access and crisis support from anywhere in North America, as well as personal counselling for individuals, couples, and families. 6. Monitor and Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your EAP Offering solutions to improve employee wellness can sometimes feel tricky and leaning on your EAP for guidance can be helpful. With FSEAP, you have access to dedicated account management and support services which allow you to monitor workplace and utilization trends, and create a program or action plan that is responsive to the unique needs of each organization and its culture. Wellness and mental health management strategies are essential to a healthy and productive workplace. Using EAPs can easily streamline this process and provide comprehensive support to your organization. If you are interested, reach out to FSEAP to learn more about what we can do to assist your organization.

  • Mental Health Stigma: Let’s Change This--Bell Let’s Talk Campaign 2023

    All of us go through varying stages of mental health change for different reasons, and many of us will experience significant mental health challenges in our lifetime. Normalizing conversations about mental health can save lives and help us all to feel more supported and connected. That’s why, every year in January, the Bell Let’s Talk campaign raises mental health awareness in Canada. As an EAP provider in Canada with a social mission for change, FSEAP is committed to reducing the impact of mental health challenges on individuals and workplaces that are affected. One in four Canadians experience high levels of anxiety – that means someone you know might be struggling, and maybe you are struggling right now as well. When someone asks you how you’re feeling, do you answer honestly? There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and this leads people to hide their pain and their struggle, out of embarrassment or fear of being judged. Let’s change this. Every year, at least 4,500 people die by suicide. Since the pandemic, 20 people die each day as a result of opiate overdose. The cost-of-living crisis, unresolved trauma, and mounting stress levels contribute to Canadians turning to suicide, drugs, and alcohol as a way to cope. This is partially because the stigma around suicide and substance use discourages many people from accessing the support they need. Let’s change this. If you know someone who is struggling, speak to them. If you are struggling, get in touch with loved ones or connect your EAP or a support line for help. Let’s get talking One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental health challenges is overcoming the stigma of having a problem and asking for help. Talking openly about mental health challenges is the first step to reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking support. Stigma is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living with these challenges do not seek help. Most people with mental health challenges can and do recover, and the first step is talking about it and being willing to listen to those in need. Here are 5 simple ways to help end the stigma that keeps too many from seeking help: Monitor your language: the words you use can make all the difference. Educate yourself: knowing the facts and myths about mental health can be a great way to help end the stigma. Be kind: simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them. Listen and ask: being a good listener and asking how you can help can be the first step in recovery. Talk about it: mental health touches us all in some way, either directly, or through a friend, family member, or colleague. Anxiety, substance use, suicide, and other mental health challenges can have a tremendous impact on your workplace. Individuals facing these challenges may be taking time off work to cope with their own mental health challenges or to support their immediate family members and friends. Employees may have reduced productivity at work, leading to poor performance and increased potential for errors or conflict within the workplace. For support with ways to start the conversation about mental health in your workplace, connect with FSEAP. We have a number of services that we can offer to help you build a campaign for change in your workplace. You can also download the Bell Let’s Talk Conversation Guides that can be used to lead your own discussion about mental health or talk with someone you might be concerned about. It is essential, now more than ever, to improve our awareness and partner with FSEAP to reduce the impact of mental health challenges on your employees and your workplace. Now we’re talking.

  • Opioid Overdose Stigma, Risk, and Prevention

    Toxic drugs claimed more than 7,560 lives in Canada in 2020; approximately 21 deaths per day. During the first year of the pandemic, there was a 96% increase in apparent opioid toxicity deaths, compared to the year before. Since then, opioid deaths have remained high. This year, we mark International Overdose Awareness Day with a continued sense of grief, urgency, and hope that stigma and failed drug policy will become a thing of the past. A particularly tragic dimension of the issue is that overdoses are occurring right in people’s homes, where they use drugs that they thought would be safe. Many of those lost didn’t necessarily grapple with addiction issues but were using recreationally but with tainted drugs. And far too many are dying from overdose because they’re using alone. Observed on the 31st of August every year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use. Overdose can affect anybody and one of the messages of this day is that the people who overdose are our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters – they are loved and they are missed. No family should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one because of overdose. Stigma around drug use Studies show that stigma is a major underlying factor driving the opioid crisis in Canada and acts as a major barrier to effective addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts of the individual. The personal shame and public stigma attached to drug use have largely contributed to the worsening of the opioid crisis. Most of the public still think that substance use disorder or addiction only impacts people who struggle with homelessness or are on the streets, but most of the people dying from these toxic drugs are actually from families like our own, living in cities, suburbia, and rural communities. And while men 20 – 60 are at highest risk, rates are increasing at a faster rate for women, seniors (due to additional health issues/medications), and young children who are accidently exposed. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 21% of the population of Canada (approximately 6 million people) will meet the criteria for addiction at some point in their lifetime. When seen in this light, we begin to realize that substance abuse and addictions’ challenges are incredibly common across Canada. Risk Factors for an Overdose The following are the top risk factors for overdose: Tolerance Shift: Individuals with decreased tolerance due to recent release from incarceration, drug treatment/detoxification, hospitalization, abstinence, or intermittent non-daily use of opioids are at risk. Mixing Drugs: Combining opioids with other legal (including alcohol) or illegal substances may enhance their effects and thus increase the overdose risk. Previous History of Overdose: Individuals who have had a prior overdose event at any point in their lifetime are more likely to experience another overdose. Physical Health Issues: If a person’s body is already burdened with an acute or chronic illness (e.g., asthma, other substance use disorder, HIV, etc.), the person is more vulnerable to overdose. Variation in Strength/Content: Illegally purchased substances vary greatly in their strength (e.g., one bag of heroin or fentanyl might not be as strong as another bag even when obtained from the same seller). Switching Ingestion Method: How a person ingests a substance plays an important role in overdose risk. Injecting is usually riskier than other forms of administration, but an overdose can also occur when a person just swallows a single pill. Using Alone: If no one is there, no one can help. Overdose reversal can be effective 1-3 hours after use of the opioid, but the risk of fatality is high if the user is alone. Prevention and Harm Reduction If you use substances, follow these tips to reduce the chance of experiencing an overdose and to stay safe: Learn about Overdose Prevention Strategies and Support Lines (see resource links below) Don't use alone; but if you do, tell someone and use the Lifeguard App or Brave App Check for tainted drug warnings, and start with a small amount Do not mix substances, including alcohol Use where help is easily available (e.g. Supervised Consumption sites) Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose Carry a Take Home Naloxone (THN) kit (Obtain a free kit learn how to use it before you need it) Talk to your health care provider about substance use and alternatives to toxic substances If you or your dependent family member are struggling with substance use, reach out to your EFAP for support. We’re here to help. If you want to participate in World Overdose Day events August 26th - 31st, follow these links to a list of events: Support Lines and Services National Overdose Response Service (NORS): a peer-run, peer-led overdose prevention hotline for Canadians providing loving, confidential, nonjudgmental support for you, whenever and wherever you use drugs. Call: 1-888-688-NORS (6677) Federal and Provincial Support Services: Other Resources Brave App: The Brave App connects app users with someone who can send help while using drugs alone. Users set up an overdose plan, detailing how, when, and who is sent for help; supporters activate the plan if an overdose is detected. Lifeguard App: The Lifeguard App offers a lifeline to people using drugs alone -- by monitoring the window during which an overdose can occur. Drug and Overdose information sites: Overdose Prevention Toolkits for Organizations

  • LIFT session, a LifeSpeak Company, Partners With FSEAP

    LIFT session, a LifeSpeak Company, Partners With FSEAP, a Leading Employee Assistance Program, to Bring Digital­ Physical Wellbeing Solutions to Its Clients TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- LIFT session, a LifeSpeak Company (TSX: LSPK) and the leading fitness and wellness platform for benefit providers, announced it has expanded its global footprint in the EAP market by partnering with FSEAP, a not-for-profit organization that is a leading EAP provider. Through this partnership, FSEAP will add a compelling new offering to their EAP solution to service the burgeoning demand for physical wellness benefits by organizations around the world. "Organizations are recognizing physical wellness benefits play a critical role in employee stress, mental health management, and workforce engagement," said Raffi Tchakmakjian, President of LIFT session and Chief Growth Officer of LifeSpeak. "We're delighted to partner with FSEAP to help organizations around the world provide a more well-rounded wellbeing offering for their employees. LifeSpeak is committed to reducing the stigma around mental health and providing support for total wellbeing. We are especially proud to work with an organization that devotes 100% of its profits toward supporting mental health and community-based programs." This partnership will amplify FSEAP's proactive wellness offering with personalized, app-based workout journeys. The LIFT session platform offers on-demand and live virtual workouts and activities curated and delivered by experts in physical and mental wellness. This includes app-based workouts, web chats with wellness experts, micro wellness breaks, and more. FSEAP will also offer LIFT session wellness challenges to support clients as they help employees build healthy habits and foster workplace engagement in a hybrid work model. "Our clients continue to demand digital wellbeing solutions that can support and engage the entirety of their workforce," said Joyce Zuk, National FSEAP Board Chair. "Digital physical wellness was the next logical step in providing a well­ rounded wellness offering to support this need. We are especially excited about the opportunity that this provides us to further differentiate our offering with a high-quality solution that is known for its ease of use and high usage rates." As an online platform, LIFT session is accessible anytime and anywhere through any mobile or desktop device. It provides organizations with the company-branded experience they desire and users with the flexibility to access their program wherever and whenever they need it. The value LIFT session provides organizations is reflected in the 95+ percent satisfaction rate of its users. For more information about how LIFT session can help your organization with employee wellness and engagement, visit About LIFT session, a LifeSpeak company LIFT session, a LifeSpeak company (TSX: LSPK), is a digital fitness platform that helps wellness providers offer premium virtual fitness services to their clients. With LIFT's best-in-class virtual personal training, virtual group training, and wellness broadcast services, LIFT is capable of extending its partner's service offering beyond their physical locations and making their service offerings available to clients anywhere. By offering services through wellness providers and businesses, LIFT session offers its online fitness platform to millions of customers globally. Follow LIFT session on Instagram and LinkedIn About FSEAP Founded in 1974, FSEAP is a national social enterprise division of Family Service Agencies providing employee and family assistance programs (EFAP) and Integrated Workplace Wellness Solutions. As the only private, not-for-profit, community­ based EFAP provider in Canada, we strive to sustain healthy workplaces and strong communities. FSEAP's client-centric services support customers large and small in every economic sector with evidence-based solutions that promote and maintain the health and well-being of employees and workplaces. FSEAP's services support a diverse customer base and their employees with evidence-based solutions that promote and maintain the health and well-being of employees and the workplace. About LifeSpeak Inc. LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 18+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak's proprietary library's depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms. LifeSpeak is the parent company of Lift Digital Inc. ("LIFT session"), ALAViDA Health Ltd. ("ALAViDA"), Encompass Education Solutions ("Torchlight") and Wellbeats Inc. ('Wellbeats). To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (, or visit Forward Looking Information This press release may include "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking information may include, but is not limited to, information with respect to our objectives and the strategies to achieve these objectives, as well as information with respect to our beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions. In some cases, but not necessarily in all cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology and phrases such as "forecast", "target", "goal", "may", "might", "will", "could", "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "intend", "plan", "indicate", "seek", "believe", "predict", or "likely", or the negative of these terms, or other similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking information, including references to assumptions. In addition, any statements that refer to expectations, intentions, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances contain forward-looking information. Statements containing forward-looking information are not historical facts nor guarantees or assurances of future performance but instead represent management's current beliefs, expectations, estimates and projections regarding possible future events, circumstances or performance. Forward-looking information is necessarily based on a number of opinions, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by LifeSpeak as of the date of this release, is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated by the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, the risk factors identified under "Risk Factors" in LifeSpeak's Annual Information Form, and in other periodic filings that LifeSpeak has made and may make in the future with the securities commissions or similar regulatory authorities in Canada, all of which are available under LifeSpeak 's SEDAR profile at These factors are not intended to represent a complete list of the factors that could affect LifeSpeak. However, such risk factors should be considered carefully. There can be no assurance that such estimates and assumptions will prove to be correct. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information, which speak only as of the date of this release. LifeSpeak undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable securities laws. If you are an existing FSEAP customer and would like more information about LIFT Session through FSEAP, please contact your dedicated account manager. All other inquires, please contact us.

  • FSEAP Partners with MindBeacon as Digital Mental Health Provider

    TORONTO – March 1, 2021 - Today, Family Services Employee Assistance Program (FSEAP), Canadian-based employee assistance program (EAP) provider, is pleased to announce its new strategic partnership with MindBeacon, the leading comprehensive digital mental health provider in Canada. The new partnership has been formed to better support FSEAP business members, customer organizations and employees in offering a new tool to assist them with addressing mental health challenges during COVID-19 and beyond. By partnering with MindBeacon, FSEAP continues to grow its service offerings to better support customers in adapting to current market needs. MindBeacon offers internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) through its Therapist Guided Program (TGP), allowing for an alternative counselling modality for clients and greater choice in how they access mental health support. “In the midst of COVID-19, we are finding more customer organizations asking for new tools to help support employees with the mental health challenges,” shares Joyce Zuk, Regional Director, Southwest Ontario at FSEAP. “Upon doing research into the iCBT products available, we found that MindBeacon was the best possible solution with strong clinical treatment options, high satisfaction scores, barrier removal through ease of access and exceptional service experience,” Zuk concluded. With MindBeacon, users work with a dedicated licensed therapist via secure text-based messaging, who understands their particular needs and creates a program that suits them best. The therapist creates a personalized set of readings and activities that will help users develop the skills needed to feel better. As they work through the program, MindBeacon’s therapists are always by their side – there to review progress, provide encouragement and new perspectives to consider. “We treat a number of different conditions from anxiety to stress, depression, PTSD and more at MindBeacon and after hearing FSEAPS’s need to offer a ful ly comprehensive digital mental health solution, we were thrilled to be able to support by making our services available to more people in need,” said Dr. Lori Ann Blessing, Ph.D., C. Psych., Clinical, Health and Rehabilitation Psychologist / Chief Clinical Officer at MindBeacon. “As added value and support, we also offer programs specifically designed for front-line workers to help ease their mental health challenges as they lead the way during the global pandemic,” Blessing added. As FSEAP has grown its telephonic and video-based counselling options as a result of the pandemic and the restriction on in-person treatment, iCBT allows another option for employees seeking mental health support in a virtual way, now, as well as post-pandemic. The move further supports FSEAP in helping business leaders ensure employee well-being and productivity are at their highest, while allowing MindBeacon to offer mental health support that’s designed with a user-first approach, improving access to therapy that's available anytime and anywhere. About FSEAP Founded in 1974, Family Services Employee Assistance Programs (FSEAP) is a national social enterprise division of Family Service Agencies providing employee and family assistance programs (EFAP) and Integrated Workplace Wellness Solutions. As the only national, not for profit, community-based EFAP provider in Canada, we strive to sustain healthy workplaces and strong communities. FSEAP's client centric services support customers large and small in every economic sector with evidence-based solutions that promote and maintain the health and well-being of employees and workplaces. About MindBeacon MindBeacon is developing a continuum of mental healthcare that includes self-guided psychoeducational and wellness content, Therapist Guided Programs and Live Therapy Sessions all offered virtually through their secure platform. As one of the first commercially available, digitally-native platforms to offer therapist-assisted internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Canada, MindBeacon’s professional service is designed around end users – their health, their way. Working with employers, insurance carriers and government ministries, MindBeacon’s services are accessible, affordable and, most importantly, proven to be effective. MindBeacon is changing the therapy landscape by making professional care available to every Canadian, no matter when, where and how they choose to access it. If you are an existing FSEAP customer and would like more information about MindBeacon through FSEAP, please contact your dedicated account manager. All other inquires, please contact us.

  • Eradicating Mental Health Stigma

    With campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk gaining attention and momentum, mental health awareness is increasing and the harms of mental health stigma are now better understood. People across Canada are taking the time to learn, grow, and understand how to support their families, friends and colleagues, and to be honest about their own stories and need for support. But there’s more work to be done. It can be difficult enough living with a mental illness, but when you face the added pressure of stigma – people just not understanding - it can make seeking help for your illness even more difficult. While society has come a long way, stigma is still very much prevalent, and many people still face negative responses when they express, share, or seek help for their mental health challenges. Defining Stigma & It’s Effect Stigma against mental illness has several roots, such as personal, social, and family beliefs and fears, and from the mental health condition itself, which may cause a person to act outside what is considered the social or cultural norm. Stigma involves the negative or discriminatory attitudes that others have about mental illness. Facing stigma from others can often also lead to self-stigma, when these negative attitudes get internalized, creating self-doubt and shame.. Stigma usually stems from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts, and the consequences of stigma can be serious and devastating. The worst consequence is that it can make it less likely that people will seek treatment. For many, some conditions may worsen over time without treatment, so failing to seek help will ultimately worsens one’s outcomes. Stigma can also cause people to doubt themselves and their abilities to achieve their goals in life. It can also lead to feelings of isolation, which can ultimately make it harder for people to find desired jobs, build relationships, and live a fulfilling life. What Can You Do? While stigma continues to exist, it can be eliminated with education and awareness about mental health & illness. Here are some things you can do: Educate Self. First thing is to remember that many people experience mental illness. If you have a mental illness, know that you are not alone. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians struggle with mental illness of some kind. Talk about it: Have conversations that seek first to understand the lived experience of someone with mental health issues. Perhaps start with, “I’ve noticed that you are not quite yourself. Would you like to talk about it?” Ask questions about what it’s like for them and how you can best support them. Be aware of your language: Words have meaning and reflect attitudes and beliefs. Be careful of the adjectives used to describe mental health. Be respectful in how you speak about individuals struggling with mental health issues. Find support. Whatever you do, stay connected to others and get support. If you are a friend or family member, it’s ok to need support and to talk about how you feel. If you are dealing with mental health concerns yourself, you may be reluctant to share it with others, however, it is highly encouraged to not isolate yourself. Reach out to people you trust for compassion, support and the understanding you need during this time. Organizations such Bell – Let’s Talk Campaign, and Calltime Mental Health, offer educational and supportive resources for people and families who are affected by mental illness. Access Services. There are many ways to seek help so that you can experience reduced symptoms and a better quality of life. Proper and timely treatment can provide relief by helping identify what’s wrong and reduce symptoms that may interfere with your everyday personal and work life. Speak out. Educate others around you about the realities of mental illness including how common it is and actively speak out against stigma. Discredit myths about mental illness. Feel confident in sharing your own experiences. Sharing stories and encouraging dialog can help instill courage in others who may be facing similar challenges to get the right treatment at the right time. Stigma is a complex issue that continues to have an impact, but there is hope, and change is happening. Everyone has a role in diffusing mental health stigma. Through research, education and understanding, we can eliminate the stigma around mental illness. Here are some resources to help: Bell Let's Talk 2022 Anti-Stigma Campaign Mental Health Information & Resources from the Government of Canada Mental Health 101 free online tutorials (CMHA) FSEAP, your EFAP Provider (contact us) Crisis Services Canada Hotline -- Canada: 1.833.456.4566

  • COVID-19 Update

    We hope that you are keeping well. In light of provincial announcements across the country about returning to work, organizations are now putting their minds towards planning a gradual return to work. During the sheltering at home phase of COVID-19, FSEAP was considered to be an essential service and has been able to continue providing much needed counselling by video and telephone during the last few months. As provincial governments start to give the green light to begin planning a return to the office, as well as to begin seeing clients face-to-face (with restrictions), FSEAP is putting together a plan as to how we will return to the office in a safe and reasonable way. We will keep you informed as to our plan going forward and how we will begin introducing in-person counselling once again. These plans will be informed by restrictions made in each province, and as a result the response may vary across the country. We are not alone in having mixed feelings about returning to the office to resume our work. Many of us are excited to return, even with specific restrictions in place, like keeping our distance, making sure we’re washing our hands, and keeping things disinfected; and, some of us are hesitant, worried about health concerns for families, or not yet feeling safe enough to return. FSEAP will continue to support clients with online and telephone counselling as staff and clients gradually return to our offices. Prior to our return to the office, we will be informing you about any restrictions or “rules” that clients may need to accept before meeting our counsellors face to face. We are also in conversation with our affiliate network to determine how they can begin to see clients safely as well. Please let employees know they can still request telephone or video counselling indefinitely if this helps them to continue to feel safe to access their EAP. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we, like you, navigate these uncertain times and plan for the safe return of our staff and clients. Please contact your dedicated account/EFAP program manager if you have questions or requests. If you aren’t a current customer of FSEAP and would like to learn more about how we can help, please contact us.

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