Peer Support 101: Peer Support Strategies for Surviving College & University

Admission into college, or university, can present opportunities and challenges. Access to education can be a privilege, which can provide a series of life long opportunities and rewards.  However, the years leading up to graduation (and sometimes afterwards) can be filled with a series of emotional and financial stressors. These stressors can be compounded by … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Peer Support Strategies for Surviving College & University

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Peer Support 101: Engaging Outside Your Support Group

Peer support groups provide individuals with a space to address issues and gain support from others who have experienced a similar issue/s (i.e. addictions, depression, diabetes, grief, etc.). However, chance encounters with other peer support members, outside the support group setting, can sometimes create unnecessary discomfort. Outside of the group environment, most members are not always sure … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Engaging Outside Your Support Group

Peer Support 101: Using Peer Support to Tell Your Story

“Being heard meets a deep-seated human need for connection. The simple yet critically important act of being acknowledged, being listened to – truly being heard – changes everything. It changes the person being listened to and therefore everything connected to that person”. Center for Digital Storytelling We hear our first stories at home. We then use these stories to … Continue reading Peer Support 101: Using Peer Support to Tell Your Story

Homelessness Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Why Social Workers Should Adopt A Micro & Macro Approach to Care

WHO ARE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES? Baskins (2010) defines Indigenous Peoples as “the original inhabitants of what the Haudenosaunee Nations call Turtle Island or what is also referred to as North America” (p.2). And, the Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Indigenous Peoples: Indians, Metis, and Inuit (Baskins, 2010, p.2). Also, it is often common to hear … Continue reading Homelessness Among Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Why Social Workers Should Adopt A Micro & Macro Approach to Care

Volunteering is a great way to support your health and community!

Depending on who you speak to, the evolution of volunteering as a vital form of support for those in need - and or marginalized communities - can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing. Or, if you’re more politically inclined, it can be viewed as a bit of both. Regardless of your stance with respect to … Continue reading Volunteering is a great way to support your health and community!

Distress Centres Support Social and Mental Health in Ontario

Today is International Day of Happiness, which is a day that promotes awareness about the social determinants that support happiness and or general well-being.The United Nations celebrates  International Day of Happiness “as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015 the UN launched 17 Sustainable … Continue reading Distress Centres Support Social and Mental Health in Ontario

New Government Report Looks At Precarious Work

"Work plays a very important role in our quality of life, and is often defined as a social determinant of health." The Wold Health Organization (2017) defines the social determinants of health as the “conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, … Continue reading New Government Report Looks At Precarious Work

Social Determinants of Health: Connecting Self-Care to Access

"There’s no amount of counseling, kale, or yoga — even if these were available or affordable to everyone in the U.S. — that will alter the economic, political, and social forces that sustain poverty or war in the age of terrorism, or what we glibly call “work-family conflict.” We’re going to have to throw out … Continue reading Social Determinants of Health: Connecting Self-Care to Access

Retiring on a Low Income: Plain Language Advice

A growing cohort of seniors are working well past the retirement age, and not because they want to, but because they have to. With this, early retirement has become somewhat of a unicorn. Many Canadian seniors are retiring in poverty, or with a barely livable income. There are many reasons for this, including but not … Continue reading Retiring on a Low Income: Plain Language Advice

Making Time For Art: Two Artists Worth Knowing About

I am often disheartened by the history and politics attached to the defining , and ownership of “art” (i.e. who gets to own and preserve cultural artifacts/art). With this being so, I have often shied away from frequenting (and by default promoting) the larger galleries (and museums) , choosing instead to seek out the smaller, … Continue reading Making Time For Art: Two Artists Worth Knowing About

Election Day is Approaching: Are You Ready To Vote Canada?

Voting matters! And, just as important as voting is “understanding” who - and what - you are voting for. Before you vote, take some time to find out about all the registered political parties  (i.e. visit their websites, research their political track records, research what causes or policies they are supporting, etc.). Elections Canada tries to make … Continue reading Election Day is Approaching: Are You Ready To Vote Canada?

A History of Labour Day in Canada

For "most" people, Labour Day is a public holiday, which affords us some  downtime to rest and to see our friends/loved ones. And, this is great. However, in addition to the former, it might also benefit us to think of Labour Day as a time to pause and to remember the reason for, and or history … Continue reading A History of Labour Day in Canada

Recession & Depression: 10 Tips For Supporting Good Mental Health

Global News just reported that the Bank of Canada has cut their key interest rates, as the “economy falls into recession” (July 15, 2015). For those working in mental health (and other helping professions), this is sobering news. Mental health service providers know that this kind of news – and reality – can be devastating to individuals and their families. Quite frequently, … Continue reading Recession & Depression: 10 Tips For Supporting Good Mental Health

They Left Us Everything: A Memoir (Plum Johnson Book Reading)

“EVERYONE IS INTERESTING, AS LONG AS YOU ASK THEM THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.”–PLUM JOHNSON Author Plum Johnson won the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize, for her book They Left Us Everything: A Memoir. As the winner of this annual award, which celebrates excellence in Canadian literary non-fiction, she received $25,000. Since receiving this award, Johnson has been … Continue reading They Left Us Everything: A Memoir (Plum Johnson Book Reading)

2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting To Zero

The 2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting to Zero event was held at The 519 yesterday.  This annual community memorial honours, remembers and celebrates the lives of people who have died of AIDS. It is an event that also recognizes and honours those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS. Last night I attended this event. While … Continue reading 2015 AIDS Candlelight Vigil: Getting To Zero

Fostering More Inclusive and LGBTTIQQ2SA Friendly Services

In a diverse Country like Canada (and in an even more diverse city like Toronto), those in the helping professions (health, social service, social justice, etc.) are forever grappling to stay abreast of the needs of their service users. With this, an investment in continuing education provides an opportunity to gain the insights needed, to … Continue reading Fostering More Inclusive and LGBTTIQQ2SA Friendly Services

The Midday Work Reboot

There are days when my mornings are spent tending to unanticipated service user emergencies, participating in last minute staff/team meetings , and responding to overly complicated — and time consuming — emails. On mornings like this, everything gets done — except the things originally on my to do list. On days like this, it is important to implement a midday work … Continue reading The Midday Work Reboot

Let’s talk about equity in healthcare!

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH)  provides the Canadian public health community with “knowledge and resources to take action on the social determinants of health, to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy”. As an extension of this goal, the NCCDH developed their free downloadable let’s talk series … Continue reading Let’s talk about equity in healthcare!

Emotional Intelligence And Peer Support At Work

The recent State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for US Business Leaders report notes that workers are happier (and possibly more successful) in their jobs when they have friends at work. Yet, the workplace can be a very competitive and stressful environment. With this being so, we don’t normally think of work as … Continue reading Emotional Intelligence And Peer Support At Work

Cultural Competency Training & Service User Support

Culture is a term that is often overused, that is politically charged, and whose definition can be hard to pin down. Fellows (2013) describes culture as “an all-pervading construct of human existence but its conceptualization is contested. As such, it is problematic to define or measure culture as different paradigms adopt radically different approaches”. Also, Critical Race Theorists … Continue reading Cultural Competency Training & Service User Support

Respecting Fashion and the Environment

The financial and environmental impact of our clothes: In 2011 the UK non-profit Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released their ‘Valuing our clothes’ report, which provided a “look at the financial and environmental aspects of the whole journey of all clothing; from raw material, to manufacture, purchase, use and disposal of our clothes”. On their website, … Continue reading Respecting Fashion and the Environment

Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity at Work

More than "200 ethnic origins were reported " in the 2011 Statistics Canada census findings.  And, you need to look no further than the Canadian workplace to see the manifestation of this trend.  Most workers now engage with co-workers (and also support customers) from a race, ethnic group or culture different from their own.  With this in mind, … Continue reading Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity at Work

Form Follows Function in the New User Friendly World of Work

Form follows function is an architectural  principle that suggests that “the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose”. This principle is being applied more and more in the modern world of work (literally and figuratively, in regards to approaches to work and the actual work environment). … Continue reading Form Follows Function in the New User Friendly World of Work

Catching Health in the Workplace

It’s relatively easy to sneeze a cold virus on to a coworker. Spreading great health habits, both personal and professional, however, is a much more complex task in the workplace. There’s no simple and fast way to do it but health is like a cultural virus and the ways that viruses spread can teach us … Continue reading Catching Health in the Workplace

Non Profit Sector Work: Leading Yourself Through Change

Constant change has become a day-to-day reality for not for profit organizations. They must adapt to the changing needs and requirements of their stakeholders in areas such as funding and fundraising, community engagement, financial reporting and technology upgrades. The ability to be productive while accommodating multiple changes is a must-have skill for managers, staff and … Continue reading Non Profit Sector Work: Leading Yourself Through Change

It’s Okay to Be Lonely and Alone (Sometimes)!

In our competition obsessed culture (in all its forms) it’s becoming harder for anyone to be content — alone or with others. We now consume the perfectly manufactured scenes of happy people on T.V. (which captures fantasy), and on social media (which captures a moment in time). We then assume that life should be comprised of a … Continue reading It’s Okay to Be Lonely and Alone (Sometimes)!