What can each person do to create a community of caring where people feel connected, supported and cared for?

That’s a question the University of Calgary is intent on finding answers to. Mental well-being is a critical issue, since one in five people in Canada will experience a mental-health issue in any given year, said Katie Bobra, the university’s mental health and well-being lead, during a session at Benefits Canada‘s Calgary Drug Trends Summit on Thursday.

Read: Looking to create a mental-health strategy? Ask your employees first

To that end, members of  the university’s human resources team have been expanding workplace mental-health supports by, among other efforts, emphasizing its employee and family assistance plan and implementing the national standard of Canada for psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Launched in late 2015 and encompassing a five-year plan, the organization’s mental-health strategy has seen the university introduce and expand programs and services to promote well-being and resilience and build emotional, social and physical wellness among faculty, staff and students alike. They include everything from an annual wellness fair to programs promoting mindfulness.

“We have strong, authentic leadership support throughout the organization at the institutional, faculty and unit level and highly collaborative working relationships between campus stakeholders,” said Bobra.

As Jodie Jeworski, the university’s manager of well-being and work life, put it: “It has been a journey. It takes a lot of people to move something like this forward, with collaborative relationships and a lot of support from leadership in advocating mental health and well-being.”

Read: Tackling stigma key to Co-operators’ award-winning mental-health efforts

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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