The Mental Health Continuum A lot of people automatically think of mental illness when they hear the words mental health. However, just like physical health, everyone has mental health. Mental health refers to an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being, whether it’s in a negative or positive state. A common misconception is that when our mental health is suffering,…

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Working Together to Prevent Suicide Post-Pandemic Every year, 160 million people contemplate suicide and 800,000 of these people die by suicide (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, 2021). Every year on September 10th, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day in order to promote awareness about the devastating impacts of suicide and educate each other on the…

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How to Assist Persons with Disabilities to Overcome Return to the Workplace Concerns Throughout the pandemic, employees have been working from home. As they have attempted to adapt to this new work situation, there have been ongoing concerns that may be more prevalent for individuals with disabilities. A July 2021 study completed by the Institute…

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Assisting Employees with Health Conditions in Returning to the Workplace – Is Hybrid Work Better? As an employer, you will have a number of employees with disabilities or health conditions that may need additional considerations when thinking about return to the workplace. In fact, a recent article by CNN indicates that many individuals with disabilities have…

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Health and Safety Considerations for Working Safely in a Hybrid Workplace: The Importance of Ergonomics Ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation, work tools, and work to fit the capabilities of the person doing the work to improve productivity and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort. What Is an MSD? MSDs (musculoskeletal…

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Supporting the Manager’s Mental Health in a Hybrid Workplace Have you read this article?  Your boss secretly wants to quit. Business leaders can’t take COVID-19 work life anymore – The Globe and Mail In this article published July 15, 2021, it is reported that “just over half of the 1,100 business and public sector leaders…

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10 Ways to Manage Engagement and Productivity in the Hybrid Workplace With the transition to a hybrid working model, employers may be wondering how they can ensure employees are staying engaged and productive, no matter where they work. The good news is that reports show productivity has not dropped off over the course of the…

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Supporting Employees with Remote Work Preference After working from home for the past year, some employees may find that they enjoy it and would prefer to continue working remotely. A survey of over 2,000 Canadians found that 77% of people want the flexibility to work from home at least part of the time (KPMG, 2021).…

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Addressing Mental Health Concerns in a New Hybrid Workplace World With the hybrid workplace model being discussed in virtual boardrooms across the country, employers should consider how such a decision will affect the mental health of employees. Are employees mentally ready to return to the workplace? Will continuing to work remotely negatively impact their mental…

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The Future of Hybrid Workplaces As we move forward to find our new normal for work, it is expected that employers will be planning for alternate ways to work in various formats and locations. We expect that there will be challenges in supporting employees in this decision. Employers are beginning to examine creative ways to…

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PTSD Series Part 4: Case Study Occupational Therapists’ unique occupational lens and focus on empowerment and promotion of health and well-being makes them ideally placed to work with persons with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as they work to regain control over their lives. A proper Occupational Therapy assessment can assist the employer and employee in discussing suitable…

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PTSD Series Part 3: Returning to Work Adults with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or anxiety may find themselves avoiding places, situations, objects, and people that remind them of the trauma or distress they experienced. They also might avoid thinking or talking about a certain topic. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance just keeps the distress going…

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PTSD Series Part 2: Building Resilience The longer that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms are experienced and not addressed, the greater the difficulty in treatment and reengagement in daily life. Early recognition and intervention is needed to prevent the loss of routines, habits, and roles. Without awareness and training, employees and employers may find it…

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PTSD Series Part 1: Promoting Awareness June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. This observance strives to bring awareness of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to the public and eliminate stigma. PTSD has a profound effect on the lives of those who suffer from it. Experiencing a trauma can result in physical, emotional, or psychological harm that…

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The Impact of Brain Injuries on Vision While studies show that 90% of all traumatic brain injury patients suffer from visual difficulties, visual function is often overlooked when diagnosing brain injury symptoms (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association). Symptoms are not always apparent and may be conflated with other symptoms, such as cognitive function, when testing requires visual…

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Returning to Work After a Concussion? Here’s What You Should Know Did you know that just one concussion could lead to cognitive impairment? The risk of developing long-term or permanent cognitive impairment increases with the severity of the head injury, but even mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) like concussions can temporarily impact cognition. While symptoms…

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June is Brain Injury Awareness Month We use our brains for every single thing we do – whether those actions are conscious and voluntary, such as making a cup of coffee, or unconscious and involuntary, such as breathing. Our brains are constantly working to help us survive and thrive. Your brain is the most powerful…

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Employees with Imposter Syndrome May Experience Mental Health and Performance Issues Do you ever feel like you are a “fraud”? Like you are not qualified or knowledgeable enough to be in your role or to carry out your responsibilities? Do you dismiss or discount positive feedback from others? Do you attribute your successes to “luck”…

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How to Be Mindful: Practical Tips from an Occupational Therapist The current mental health climate is precarious following more than a year of national anxiety, fear, isolation, and uncertainty. Helping employees maintain and repair their health requires a thoughtful and practical approach that recognizes both the longevity of mental health issues and the barriers to…

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Managing Negative Thoughts During a Pandemic During the ongoing pandemic, you might have experienced negative thoughts and feelings about the world around you. Fears and worries about health, financial security, and social isolation have taken a toll on Canadians’ mental health, with 50% of Canadians reporting worsening mental health, 44% reporting feelings of worry, and…

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Mental Health Week: What Has the Past Year Taught Us About Mental Health? One year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people across the globe continue to face serious mental health challenges. Even before the pandemic, Canada was facing a mental health crisis that saw one in five people managing diagnosable health conditions and 1.6 million…

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Managing Disability in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know “Effective management of disability in the workplace is more important today than ever before. As competitiveness in markets increases, the importance of an engaged and productive workforce becomes essential to an organization’s survival.” The CSA Work Disability Management System Standard, which was published in 2020,…

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Using Technology to Stay Mentally Well in Remote Workplaces Over the past year, many employers have relied on technology to keep their businesses running. Apps, websites, and social media platforms have become a lifeline for brick-and-mortar stores. Video conferencing software has become an essential part of the remote workplace as millions of Canadians continue to…

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COVID Long Hauler Syndrome: Is this a new health condition or a variation of an old health condition reimagined? As of April 5, 2021, there have been over 1 million reported cases of COVID-19 in Canada and over 23,000 deaths and almost 56,000 active cases.  With over 927,000 recovered cases, a large number of Canadians…

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Why Working is Good for Your Health Working not only has many economic and social benefits, but it can be good for your overall health. There are many reasons employees take leave off work: physical and mental disabilities, injuries, pregnancy, family emergencies and many more. Over the past year, millions of Canadians became unemployed due…

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To Sit or to Stand? In 2020, workers spent an average of 4.25 hours of the workday standing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—that’s about 57% of the day standing and 43% sitting. However, the numbers vary drastically by occupation. Workers in food preparation and serving-related roles spent around 97% of their day…

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Why Employee Fatigue Is a Productivity and Safety Concern There’s a good chance you have heard the term “fatigue” more than once in your lifetime, but do you really know what it means to be suffering from fatigue? Fatigue is more than just simply being tired, which results from short-term sleep loss or from short…

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March 15-21 is Brain Awareness Week! Brain Awareness Week occurs annually in mid-March to promote the progress and benefits of brain research to the world! This awareness week was founded in 1996 by The Dana Foundation. The Dana Foundation was founded in 1950 by Charles A. Dana, with a goal of developing a better understanding of…

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Choose to Challenge for International Women’s Day International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8th, 2021! This powerful movement was adopted by the United Nations in 1975, and is a day of togetherness, celebration, reflection, and action. IWD helps drive action against gender bias and toward a more gender equal world. According to the Government of…

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Ten Strategies to Deal with Crisis Fatigue Are you experiencing crisis fatigue? Some call it a “mental fog” or “pandemic fatigue.” While not an official clinical disorder at this time, crisis fatigue is a stressful emotional state many people are experiencing as the pandemic wears on. One year later and we are still dealing with…

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Returning to Work No matter what the circumstance, returning to work after significant time off can be initially overwhelming. There are many reasons employees take leaves off work: physical and mental disabilities, injuries, pregnancy, family emergencies and many more. Whatever the reason, the return to work process does not have to be intimidating or overwhelming.…

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What is International Self Care Day? Self care is defined as any activity that an individual does deliberately to take care of their mental, physical and emotional health. It is not something one forces themselves to do – it is taking care of needs by doing activities one enjoys. It is key to living a…

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What is Accommodation? An accommodation in the workplace is a legal requirement for employers to provide solutions for employees with disabilities in order for the employee to be productive in the workplace.  An accommodation is a reasonable adjustment or change to the work, work tools or work process to allow the employee to complete the…

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Do you know what you can ask for when an employee is absent from work? Can you ask an employee about why they are absent from work? The laws regarding what is appropriate for an employer to ask of an employee when it comes to time off work – for example, according to the Ontario…

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What is it? July 5th is National Injury Prevention Day. The day was create by an organization called Parachute, which is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. This day intends to raise awareness of the consequences that occur because of predictable and preventable injuries. The ultimate goal of this day is to educate Canadians…

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Cognitive Function Cognitive function encompasses the brain’s mental processes that lead to acquiring knowledge and information. These mental processes include paying attention, learning abilities, memory, information processing and problem-solving (Michelon, 2006). Our cognitive abilities have a lot to do with how we understand and perceive the world, resulting in how we act in it. These…

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What is it? Employee burnout is a phenomenon that occurs in employees when they have become physically or emotionally exhausted as a result of prolonged stress. The prolonged stress is typically caused by a variation of factors, but usually the main sources of stress stem from home life, work life or a combination of the…

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The Statistics The prevalence rate of lifetime PTSD in Canada was estimated to be 9.2%, with a rate of current (1-month) PTSD of 2.4%. PTSD is a common psychiatric disorder in Canada. The results are surprising, given the comparably low rates of violent crime, a small military and few natural disasters. (NCBI) A Canadian Forces survey estimates that 11.1% of regular personnel have experienced PTSD…

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June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada! We use our brains for every single thing we do – whether those actions are conscious and voluntary – such as making a cup of coffee, or unconscious and involuntary – such as breathing, our brains are constantly working to help us survive and thrive. Your brain…

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What is National Health & Fitness Day? National Health and Fitness Day is known as Canada’s specified day for Canadians to get up, get into action and participate in healthy physical activity. This day is scheduled to happen on the first Saturday in June every year; this year it falls on June 2nd. The idea…

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What is World MS Day? Every year since 2009, May 30th has been known as World MS Day. This day is developed and organized by the staff of the MS International Federation (MSIF), and every year the team of workers comes up with a different campaign and theme to spread awareness and raise funds for…

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Everyone enjoys a long weekend – having an extra day off work every once in a while is a good way to reduce stress, increase relaxation and spend some extra time doing the things you love. However, sometimes returning to work after a long weekend can be overwhelming – you may feel like you don’t…

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Stress Stress – defined as a physiological response that is necessary for survival – is something we all experience (Jefferies, 2016). Individuals experience different levels of stress at different points in their lives, and even though the word “stress” tends to have a negative connotation attached to it, there is such a thing as good…

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Return to Work There are several different reasons why an employee may take a leave of absence – perhaps they acquired an injury, needed to take some time away for mental health reasons, or maybe an individual simply needs time away from work to focus on other matters in their life. Whatever the reason for…

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Covering the Basics Chances are, you probably know the definitions of terms such as cognition and pain, and if you don’t, you have definitely experienced both of these terms throughout the course of your life. Cognition is essentially your brain’s ability to think and acquire knowledge – including actions such as learning through sensory input,…

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What is Fatigue? There’s a good chance you have heard the term “fatigue” more than once in your lifetime, but do you really know what it means to be suffering from fatigue? Fatigue is more than just simply being tired – which results from short-term sleep loss or from short periods of heavy physical or…

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March 8 is International Women’s Day #PressforProgress Use International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 as an important opportunity to: celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful…

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CANNABIS ON THE JOB What do you need to know as an employer? Although cannabis has been shown to be effective in managing pain, neurological symptoms and has become a common prescription, it is important to understand this impacts employee function.  How do you know if your employee’s cognition and response time is impacted by…

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Thank you to all of our supporters, our readers and the human resources and return-to-work professionals that help to keep employees healthy and at work.  We are honoured to be recognized as the 2017 HR Reporters’ Readers’ Choice Award Winner for Disability Management Consultants. The 2018 Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award Voting is now…

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Melanie Weller is our senior clinical specialist in Occupational Therapy and she has been with Gowan Consulting for more than 15 years.  We are proud to announce that at the recent Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Conference in Charlottetown, PEI that Melanie was recognized for her many leadership achievements in the field of Occupational Therapy.…

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The role of medical professionals in the accommodation process   Medical professionals have an important role to play when people with disabilities seek accommodation to allow them to benefit equally from and take part in services (such as education), housing or the workplace. To implement appropriate accommodations, schools, employers and other organizations covered by the Code often…

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“MSDs account for 42 per cent of all lost time claims accepted by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), 42 per cent of all lost time claim costs and 50 per cent of all lost time days (averages for 1996 – 2004).” – OHSCO, 2013   What is an MSD? Musculoskeletal disorders impact the…

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Abstract: Despite the fact there are societal and legal requirements to accommodate persons with disabilities in the workplace; a comprehensive disability management program has many economic and social benefits. Simply being off work can be bad for your health.  This article will focus on the economic and social benefits of managing disability in the workplace. …

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Gowan Consulting welcomes you to our new website.  As we continue to grow across Canada and globally we want to ensure that you can access our services quickly and effectively. Our new website has accessibility features, offers French and English options make a referral or contact us buttons regularly updated blogs and videos online store…

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