Ontario’s third wave and months-long provincial lockdowns are taking a toll on worker’s mental health and wellness. Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council is piloting a first-of its kind program to bridge the gaps and connect with members during this time of isolation and loneliness.
“This pandemic presented new challenges in our workplaces, and in our communities, but the reality of Ontario’s long lockdowns also caused a new issue of loneliness and disconnect in member’s personal lives. That’s what we’re trying to fight,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.
The program connects members of the Ontario Regional Council, including its Standing Committees, with members across the province over text message.
This past week, these dedicated trade unionists sent more than 20,000 text messages to members, starting one-on-one conversations about how the pandemic has changes members lives and the resources and support available through the union.
“We’ve had a really incredible response. I’m grateful to the ORC members who stepped up to participate, and to members across the province who are sharing their experiences with us,” said Scott McIlmoyle, Unifor Ontario Regional Council Chairperson.
On the phones, the ORC is directing members to visit the COVID-19 Information and Resource page for up to date information about advocacy campaigns, health and safety information, and other supports.
The COVID-19 Mental Health page is also a valuable resource for any member who is experiencing isolation, or needs to support other workers in that position.
To keep the conversation about mental health going, Unifor is hosting a webinar with famed sportscaster and mental health advocate, Michael Landsberg.
This webinar will focus on issues surrounding mental health and stigma, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Michael will deliver a presentation and engage in a question and answer period.
In Michael’s words, “Mental illnesses, like depression, are NOT self-inflicted, they are not choices, or weaknesses. They are as real as a tumour, but since we can’t scan them or biopsy them, many see them differently.”