Mental health and wellness is a York community concern

During the third week of Mental Health Awareness month, attention is being turned to work-life balance.

The week starts with Family Day, a day to take a break from work and spend time with family and loved ones. This additional public holiday is a reminder that balancing home and family life is an important strategy for maintaining mental wellness.

Bicycle leaning on building in summer
Exercise is a great way to help improve mental health and wellness

To assist with developing personal strategies to keep things in balance, the Mental Health Steering Committee is sponsoring workshops for staff and faculty members.

All non-academic employees are invited to attend the Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace workshop. It will explore the impact of a mental illness on employees, the importance of support from the workplace and strategies for helping individuals who are suffering from a mental illness.  Two sessions will be offered, one on each campus.

The first workshop, Wellness: Mental Health Awareness in the Workplacewill be held Wednesday, Feb. 18, from 1 to 2pm, at 305 York Lanes, Keele campus.

The second workshop, Wellness: Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace, will be offered on Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 10 to 11am, in the BMO Conference Room, Glendon campus.

Adults are not the only ones to experience stress; kids can have high levels of stress as well. Join Louise Hartley, director of the York University Psychology Clinic, for the Wellness: Kids Have Stress Too workshop Thursday, Feb. 19, from noon to 1pm, at 626 Kaneff Tower, Keele campus. This workshop is for parents of school-age children.

Believe it or not, in today’s fast-paced society many children and adolescents are struggling with stress. This workshop will focus on some tools that parents can use to help their children learn to develop coping strategies that they will be able to use throughout their lives in terms of dealing with challenges that inevitably occur.  To register, fill out the registration form.

For more information, visit the York Employee Learning Calendar.

Rani Hajela Srivastava
Rani Hajela Srivastava

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Rani Hajela Srivastava, chief of nursing and professional practice at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, will present Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: A dialogue. The talk will take place at 242 York Lanes, from 1 to 2:30pm.

Srivastava is also a professor at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, and an adjunct professor at York University. Her areas of expertise include cultural competence and health equity, knowledge transfer, organizational dynamics and inter-professional practice.

She is the author/editor of The Healthcare Professional’s Guide to Clinical Cultural Competence textbook and has written on the influence of religion and ethics on health care. She served as the co-chair for the best practice guideline on Interprofessional Collaboration, and has previously served as chair for the best practice guideline on Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence.

All employees are encouraged to be aware of how they can maintain balance and build resilience for themselves during this week.

You can also help. If you notice a colleague who is struggling or having a bad day, be a good listener and remind them professional help is available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP is a confidential service that can help overcome problems and challenges in life. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The University receives no personal information regarding who accesses the program.

Log onto the Shepell-fgi Work Health Life ( website to access online resources or call 1-800-268-5211. TTY Service is available at 1-800-363-6270.

For more information on resources and wellness, visit York’s Mental Health and Wellness website.


York’s Mental Health and Wellness committee wants to know how you maintain your well-being. Visit York’s mental health website ( to learn more about the five ways to well-being – be active, take notice, keep learning, give and connect. Enter your self-care tips and tricks to be eligible to win a $50 Starbucks gift card. The contest closes March 31.