Yesterday evening, at the health and safety forum, CUPE members heard two experts, exchanged ideas and received tools and advice for a better understanding of the causes of stress, its effects on our health, and ways to prevent it.

Julie Kaisla, from the Canadian Mental Health Association’s British Colombia Division talked about the different psychological wounds caused by excessively heavy workloads, as well as some general strategies for reducing the effects of stress.

The participants also heard Cassie Loveless, Paramedic/Emergency Medical Dispatcher at BC Ambulance Service. Ms. Loveless told members about her personal experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the ways that she deals with this “silent” illness. She explained various strategies to prevent the escalation of psychological injury.

CUPE health and safety advisors described the tools and resources available to members to help them understand and prevent psychological injury. A new violence prevention kit produced by the CUPE Health and Safety Service was also launched at the forum. In addition to useful information on the prevention of violence and harassment in the workplace, the kit contains tools such as a form letter to the employer for reporting violent incidents, an information sheet on working alone, a bargaining guide on domestic violence in the workplace, and various other documents.

In accordance with the mandate conferred by delegates to the 2013 CUPE National Convention, the Union Development Department, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Service, created a new series of courses on health and safety, which was launched at the forum.

The forum ended with a Q & A session with a moderator and a round table on the prevention of stress in the workplace.