On this day of mental health awareness I thought it would be appropriate to remind you to take care of yourselves, and each other. I’m no expert in the field but as far as I’m concerned, mental health, is health. As teachers, we too often let our health suffer for the sake of others, be it the job, our students, our families… it’s in our nature. I also know that we all have good days and bad days, and that’s OK. Not every day can be that perfect day that you want to post on social media and share with everyone who will listen. Some days will be rough, and that’s OK too. It’s important to share those days as well, with colleagues, friends, or wherever you find support. There is no shame in that. Nor is there shame in asking for help.
I know that many of us are struggling with stresses that may be out of our control. Finances, families, work, addictions, and any number of other things can weigh heavily on us. Not to mention the uncertainty of education in Manitoba. But if you are feeling you are having more bad days than good, here are a few ideas, the first being the MTS Educator Assistance Program that offers counselling sessions in both French and English. Here is more detailed information about that program.
Educator Assistance Program: What it is and how it can help you
What is EAP?
The Program offers counselling sessions in French and English with its professional counsellors:
- To provide confidential and voluntary professional counselling and referral services for MTS members.
- To provide help and intervention at an early stage of difficulty.
- To enhance the health of members.
Who is eligible for service?
You are eligible if the issues that you are confronting in your life are impacting your mental health to the degree that you are concerned about your ability to sustain work.
What types of issues are addressed through EAP counselling?
The professionally qualified team at EAP provides service to members struggling with a wide variety of issues related to work or home, such as:
- Enhancing self-care in a stressful environment.
- Dealing with changes and transitions.
- Improving professional and personal relationships.
- Coping with loss, separation, divorce and relationship issues.
- Recognizing and addressing burn-out, depression, stress, anxiety.
- Addressing emotional trauma from work or other situations.
- Dealing with harassment or abuse
However, a number of member issues are better addressed by specialized services. As our goal is to provide the best and most appropriate service to members, we refer members to specialized services for the following when these resources are available in the community:
- Family Violence
- Parenting Skills Development
- Financial Stress
- Fertility Issues
- Chronic Pain and Illness
- Alternate Career Exploration
How do I access services and what happens when I call?
Step 1: Telephone your nearest EAP office (Winnipeg or Brandon). When making contact with EAP please ensure you have your Manitoba Teachers’ Society membership card number available (not your Teaching Certificate number).
Step 2: After you have provided your membership number, and your eligibility for service has been determined you will be asked to do an intake interview. This will be completed over the telephone. Once the intake interview has been completed, an appointment for service will be offered.
Are services accessible in areas other than Brandon and Winnipeg?
Yes. EAP provides service to rural and remote areas of the Province. SKYPE and telephone services may also be provided.
Is there a charge for this service?
No. All costs are covered through your MTS dues.
Is there a maximum number of times I can access EAP?
Yes. Every year each member can access EAP for ten 1 hour sessions.
Winnipeg McMaster House, 191 Harcourt Street Winnipeg, MB, R3J 3H2
Phone: 204-837-5801 Toll free: 1-800-378-8811
Leanne Laroche, EAP Administrative Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Helpful Resources
- Don’t underestimate the importance of sharing with colleagues. Sometimes there is a wealth of information, help, and support just down the hall. You’d be surprised how happy people are to help colleagues.
- Contact us at the RETTA office. We aren’t counsellors, but most times we can help point you in the right direction.
- The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority also has many programs available to help Manitobans.
- Addictions Foundation of Manitoba is another great resource.
- A more proactive approach to wellness can be found on the Manitoba Teachers’ Society LifeSpeak page with a couple hundred videos on a wide range of topics that pertain particularly to educators. Even though you have to sign in through MyProfile, MTS sees no information about what information you choose to seek
– Chris Darazsi