June 14, 2019
This award-winning occupational health nurse is supporting your mental health in the workplace
Occupational Health and Safety on campus includes a host of supports. Some protect our physical health and well-being, while others focus on supporting our psychological health. Promoting and supporting the psychological well-being of all employees on campus is an essential part of one person’s job — and, she just won an award for it.
At the 2019 Canadian Occupational Health Nurses Conference, Amanda Habiak, occupational health nurse and mental health consultant with Staff Wellness, was awarded the Promising Performer Award for her innovative work with psychological safety in the workplace and the Campus Mental Health Strategy.
“The existence of this award shows that society values psychological health and safety in the workplace more and more,” Habiak says. “This external recognition highlights the university’s dedication and commitment to mental health.”
Breaking down barriers to psychological support
Half of Habiak’s role as a mental health consultant at the university consists of meeting with employees who require psychological support, and guiding them to the resources they need to address their health.
“I engage in dialogue and intervention with employees who need support, and connect them to resources where they can get,” Habiak says. “I help them find what they need, whether that’s coping strategies, self-care or professional support.”
The other half of her focus is supporting the Campus Mental Health Strategy, which was created and implemented in 2015.
“Since 2016, I’ve worked very closely with the mental health strategy to assist in implementation of the recommendations,” Habiak adds.
One recent initiative that Habiak headed up through the mental health strategy is the Assisting a Colleague in Distress document, which includes a number of resources, referral methods and strategies for faculty and staff to recognize early indications of risk to psychological safety.
“Mental health in the workplace is obviously a keen interest of mine so I can’t emphasize enough the importance of early help-seeking,” Habiak says. “Living those values daily, checking assumptions and biases and checking in on one another is the best way to create a psychologically healthy workplace.”
Learn more about the Campus Mental Health Strategy, or contact the main Staff Wellness line at 403-220-2918 to get support for your psychological help in the workplace.