EAP Toolkit to Support Members in Loss Situations
The pandemic has led to a series of losses, from our sense of safety to our social connections to our financial security. We are increasingly isolated from normal activities that bring us into contact with others. Going to work, shopping, visiting the library or making arrangements to catch up with friends and family are impacted by the need for personal distancing and social isolation. Furthermore, the COVID 19 pandemic has also disrupted usual grieving and funeral practices. The community is grappling with making sense of the seismic changes in their much-needed mourning rituals. In order to slow the spread of the pandemic individuals are now asked to physically isolate themselves. This is a guideline that impacts almost all usual grieving and funeral practices. It has created thousands of new mourners, many of whom are grieving alone.
To assist employees with the potential losses both in the workplace or in personal lives, the Employee Assistance Program has put together a grief and loss toolkit. Every experience of loss can be different, as well as the circumstances around any loss may vary as well. Consequently, one often needs to approach supporting staff with a more tailored approach.
Some useful tips to keep in mind when supporting a bereaved person during self-isolation and physical distancing:
Make that phone call to tell them you are especially thinking of them during this time
Allow them to talk about their loved one, as well as their fears
Understand their grief from their perspective and normalize their experience
Try to avoid clichés; listen if you do not know what to say
Allow a space for them to cry, give them that time, your silence allows for this
It is always okay to express sorrow over their loss
Stay in contact with them on a regular basis: video chat, phone
Encourage them to seek or keep in contact with supports
“Visit” them virtually. Make a coffee date
Encourage them to access professional and other supports.
Should you wish to consult on best approaches in dealing with grief and bereavement concerns, , or for further information on EAP services that can best support you, your family and/or your staff, please do not hesitate to contact your local coordinator-counsellor or visit the EAP website at http://infozone/eap or https://www.workhealthlife.com/ if you do not have a CRA computer.
If you have any concerns and need support for yourself or your staff, please do not hesitate to contact the Employee Assistance Program, External EAP Provider: Shepell (E) 1-800-268-5211, (F) 1-800-363-3872, (TTY) 1-800-363-6270, available 24 hours, 7 days a week; website: www.workhealthlife.com
Grief and Loss Resources – On Line Support
Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace
New information hub focused on Mental Health and COVID-19. Preliminary information has been populated, which focuses on protecting your mental health and getting help if needed.
Free online resource that helps parents support their children when someone in their life is dying or has died. It equips parents with the words and confidence needed to help children grieve life’s losses in healthy ways.
Bereaved Families of Ontario
BFO can assist you to be helpful for a friend, relative or co-worker who has experienced the death of a loved one. They provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for you to discuss your experiences and learn about grief with others who have been there. The service we provide is free, no charge for our help and support. Bilingual support available in some communities.
Extensive Health and Well Being library with many helpful articles around grief and bereavement. Free to CRA ON Region employees.
www.workhealthlife.com for “Search Organization” enter Canada Revenue Agency and then CRA Ontario Region from drop-down list.
Wellness Together Canada
WTC will connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
This resource can help you understand grief and work through some of the difficult issues you may be facing. MyGrief.ca has been developed by a team of national and international grief experts together with people who have experienced significant loss in their own. It is not meant to replace professional counselling or other health care services.
Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Telehealth Ontario is only offered over the phone. Email advice is not available.