Mental Health...and Washing Machines
By: Julian Toy H.S.C. Substance Abuse Professional
Member of The Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals
Over the 17 years I’ve been a counselor, I’ve worked individually with hundreds of people to address a variety of problems. Whatever issues I help clients with, there are some common themes that end up emerging.
One of the most common: Are these thoughts or feelings I’m having normal?
The answer to this question in most cases is yes. Based on what you’ve told me, it’s a natural thought/feeling to have. There are some exceptions: e.g., when clients are psychotic or hallucinating.
Based on this, there are some clear steps employers can take to promote worker’s mental health.
Before I list these suggestions, it’s important to remember that an EAP can be a good resource – depending on the plan and the supports it has. However, an EAP involves the worker calling for help... this can be a difficult barrier for many workers to surmount.
All supervisory staff should have training in the basics of mental health and how to respond to worker inquiries prior to implementation of these suggestions.
Having supportive mental health information on the jobsite promotes it among all workers and in some cases, prevents them from needing more intense interventions.
Create signage that normalizes thoughts and feelings, and post them in prominent places around the jobsite, such as lunchrooms, smoking areas and elevators.
One of my favorites is “Normal is the Setting on a Washing Machine!”
Post contact numbers for Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. All these organizations have literature and posters freely available on their respective websites, including pamphlets specially addressed to employers.
Other organizations that have free PDF resources ideal for the workplace are The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health.
Keep brochures readily accessible in multiple places around the jobsite. Ensure workers can take them anonymously. Make it as easy as possible for workers to access any resources you put onsite.
As workers view thoughts and feelings through the washing machine lens, the more resilient they will be.
If you have questions, need training or literature please contact Julian directly:
Direct Line: 905-866-7301
Services: Fit for Duty/Drug and Alcohol policy development, Fit for Duty/Drug and Alcohol training, Employee Substance Abuse Assessments and COVID 19 Mental Health Training, Preferred provider of Fit for Duty/Drug and Alcohol training Eastern Construction Ltd.