How to protect your mental health

How to protect your mental health

You’re indispensable. But that doesn’t mean you’re immune to stress, anxiety or depression. The incidence of these conditions is on the rise, especially now that the pandemic has been gaining strength. Protecting your mental health is crucial—and it’s a shared responsibility between you, your employer and your union.

“Protecting our psychological health: it’s our right!” That’s the theme of our 2020 occupational health and safety (OHS) campaign, which offers key questions and measures for protecting employees’ mental health.

Assessing whether there are psychosocial risks in your work environment is a good way to gauge how you’re faring from a psychological perspective. The campaign includes a digital handbook with questions to get you started. In answering them, you’ll find out what factors could affect you, create distress and prevent you from fully carrying out your professional responsibilities during this critical period for the health and social services system.

What are your employer’s responsibilities?

Your employer is responsible for protecting your physical and psychological health. In fact, it’s a legal obligation. Your employer must inform you of any risks related to your work, provide you with appropriate safety training, and limit your exposure to health hazards as much as possible.

The pandemic doesn’t give your employer a free pass to shirk these obligations. On the contrary! The current context has increased workers’ risk of developing mental health disorders, musculoskeletal problems and cardiovascular disease. It has also escalated the risk of work-related accidents and injuries. Prevention is more important than ever.

That’s why this year’s OHS campaign advocates a series of preventive measures for managers. We encourage you to spread the word by sharing this information with the people around you.

Actions taken by the APTS

Our health and safety team conducts consultations with members and takes part in research projects to prepare for high-level exchanges with government representatives, to raise awareness about what happens if preventive measures aren’t implemented. It also provides support for our local teams who raise concerns with employers about situations that violate your right to a safe workplace. If you’re facing workplace safety risks, please contact your local team.

What about you?

Does the endless stream of bad news on the health, social and economic fronts really get to you? Are you weighed down by the threat looming over the health and social services system? Are you showing signs of irritability from the constant daily disruptions in your personal and professional life? These reactions are entirely normal.

Now more than ever, you need to take care of yourself by adopting healthy habits, keeping in touch with people who make you feel good, and making time for activities that you enjoy.

But if you find yourself unable to bounce back despite your best efforts and are still not your usual self, you may want to talk to a professional. Nobody is immune to anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder—especially not health and social services workers who are exposed to illness, personal distress and the death of people in their care.

We’ve prepared a video clip for our members about various reactions to traumatic events. Check it out!


By Chantal Mantha | With Esther Gagnon and Chantal Schmidt | November 24, 2020