Training and education for staff, officers, and stewards

May 3, 2017

Mental illnesses can be bewildering for people who aren’t familiar with them. Sometimes they involve changes in personality, mood, or behaviour, and that can be confusing.

Training and education can help staff, officers, and stewards offer members help and support in a way that is sensitive, empathetic, and appropriate. Emotional support is important, but so is being able to help in concrete and practical ways like understanding what benefits and accommodations are available.

With training, we can assist members more effectively. For example, knowing it’s not helpful to tell someone with depression to cheer up or telling someone with anxiety that things aren’t so bad can lead to people feeling worse and hesitating to speak up about their mental state. Trying to convince someone who may have delusions or who claims to see things that others can’t and that these things are not real can make them feel isolated.

Training staff, officers, and stewards in supporting members with mental illness helps them:

  • To know how to approach members with a mental health challenge appropriately and how to respond if members approach them;
  • To recognize signs of mental illness and offer to support members in a way that is appropriate, empathetic, and respectful;
  • To advocate for accommodations and help make the case for workplace-related injury, if appropriate;
  • To help prevent health issues from becoming disciplinary issues; and
  • To help negotiate a good return-to-work process after mental health-related leave.