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What does it take to create a healthy work environment?

by Carolyn Dewa, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Head of CAMH’s Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health

image of a man with head in hands over a latptop - made of words stress and burnout

Photo: Burnout & Stress

As an economist, I’m often asked questions about efficiency. As in: How do we do more with less?

But we often forget that we’re not asking more of machines – we’re asking more of people.

In our quest for efficiency, we can inadvertently create inefficiency by producing an environment ripe for burnout and high chronic stress. (See: What can we do to stop physician burnout in Canada?)

One clear way of increasing efficiency is to ensure that we have a physically and psychologically healthy work force. The first step towards this goal involves creating a healthy and well-equipped work environment.

A mountain of research (See: Healthy Work: Stress, Productivity, and the Reconstruction of Working Life; Fourth European Working Conditions Survey; Examination of factors associated with the mental health status of principals) tells us that feeling supported by co-workers and supervisors, finding meaning in our jobs, being trusted to finish our work and being accountable for reasonable deadlines all contribute to our mental health.

While we know these things to be true, the question remains – how do we do all this with limited time and resources?

Read more

Nutrition tips to manage nicotine withdrawal

Christina Zavaglia, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator

Sign in wilderness says - quit smoking and see how it feels

Time for fresh air. Photo by James, CC 

Do you know that CAMH is tobacco-free?

The CAMH dietitians wanted to show support for those thinking about quitting smoking with some tips.

While this may not be an easy feat, healthy eating and proper nutrition are important factors in quitting successfully.

Here are some nutrition and healthy eating tips to help manage some of the common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: Read more

Stretch the Soul and the benefits of yoga

by Amanda DeGasperis and Stephanie DeGasperis – CAMH Foundation supporters, and organizers of “Stretch the Soul,” an annual yoga event in support of CAMH.

Room full of people doing yoga, warrior pose

A great turnout at our third annual Stretch the Soul fundraiser in support of CAMH

Whether you are an expert at downward dog or a novice learning how to establish a stable butterfly pose, yoga is good for the mind and great for the soul.

On July 13, we were inspired by the incredible show of support for CAMH and mental health when 80 participants came out for a day of yoga at the third annual “Stretch the Soul” event in support of CAMH.

When we started the event, our mission was to raise awareness and end stigma towards mental illness, and we’re happy to say that it continues each year.

Like millions of people around the world, we have been deeply touched by mental illness. Change is within our grasp and we wanted to make a difference with an event to support the incredible work being done at CAMH.

If you couldn’t make it out to our day of yoga, there are many ways you can keep healthy and happy this summer and throughout the year. Read more

Q&A: Getting to know CAMH’s ethicist, Kevin Reel

by Joan Chang

CAMH ethicist Kevin Reel

Ethicist Kevin Reel

Q: What’s a health care ethicist?

A: What we do in the practice of healthcare ethics is help people think through really challenging decisions and situations and figure out what causes that sense of ‘yuck’ that we feel when ethical values are in conflict – our own, or each other’s.

The more official term for the ‘yuck’ factor is moral distress, but ‘yuck’ really tells it the way it is. The problem with the ‘yuck’ feeling is that it’s not always reliable. We may not feel it at all when we should, or the ‘yuck’ might be more emotional than ethical.

Ethical decisions are essentially about trying to figure what is the ‘good’ or ‘right’ thing to do in a situation. Such situations occur every day, and often go unnoticed because they are pretty straightforward. But sometimes they are much more complex.

Thinking through them can be much easier when an objective person helps you. The ethicist can be that objective person – part of, and familiar with, CAMH, but not in the middle of the situation. Read more

Survey: What do people think of our tobacco free policy?

by Lilian Riad-Allen

In the cigar shop that doubled as a convenience store by my first residence in university, I remember the old cigarette ads plastered across the wall: Doctors in white coats promoting their favourite brand of cigarettes, children and even babies in cigarette ads, and women talking about the weight loss benefits of smoking.

I was always intrigued by these images as they seemed to reflect a reality that I couldn’t imagine. Attitudes had shifted so much since then that the idea of a physician advocating for tobacco use seemed almost satirical.

Attitudes have indeed been shifting. Since the first US surgeon general’s report in 1964[1] , the number of people smoking has been in constant decline to where we are now, 50 years later, with approximately 17 per cent of Canadians still smoking.

When you compare that to the number of people with mental health and addiction issues who smoke, you see a striking difference – with an estimated smoking prevalence of over 60 per cent. Read more

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