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Learn how to help a colleague in distress when they may need it most

New handout guides faculty, staff and postdocs to identify resources to help
May 12, 2017
Staff Wellness, in collaboration with the SU Wellness Centre and WellBeing and WorkLife, have put together an important handout for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars. The information in the handout helps people recognize a colleague who may be in distress, and identifies resources that are available to help and to enable them to make a good referral. Photo by Ewan Nicholson

Staff Wellness, in collaboration with the SU Wellness Centre and WellBeing and WorkLife, have put together an important handout for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars. The information in the handout helps people recognize a colleague who may be in distress, and identifies resources that are available to help and to enable them to make a good referral. Photo by Ewan Nicholson

With more than 40,000 people on campus during the academic year, all of us go through times of stress, whether it be at work or at home. When that stress leads to distress, everyone on campus should know that they have a place to turn or an ear that will listen.

Staff Wellness, in collaboration with the SU Wellness Centre and WellBeing and WorkLife, have put together an important handout for faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars on assisting a colleague in distress. The information in the handout helps people recognize a colleague who may be in distress, and identifies resources that are available to help and that enable them to make a good referral.

“When employees encounter a colleague exhibiting signs of declining mental health, most people have genuine concern and really want to help. Often the problem is they either don’t know what to do or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing,” says Marc Simard, manager, Staff Wellness. “This handout provides some straightforward instruction and even some examples of how to get an appropriate conversation started.”

Developed to support recommendations from the Campus Mental Health Strategy, the publication helps our community develop skills to recognize and respond to early indicators of distress. It is based on the helping students in distress resource developed by the SU Wellness Centre.

Through the six focus areas and 28 recommendations in the strategy, campus programs and services are being expanded, enhanced or created in a number of ways. To date, 26 of the recommendations are underway, with some already complete.

“This is a great resource for the campus, helping people recognize the importance of early identification and how to make a good referral to campus and community resources,” says Andrew Szeto, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. “The more that we look out for one another, the more we actually build an environment where we can talk openly about mental health and supporting our peers through difficult times.”

For more information on how to support a colleague in distress, if you can’t find the resource you are looking for, if you’d like to order some of these publications for your area, or if you want to book a presentation for your department or unit about resources available on campus, please contact Staff Wellness at 403.220.2918 or email the mental health consultant at mh.consultant@ucalgary.ca.  

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. If you think you need help, please visit resources here. If you think someone you know needs help, find more information here.