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New online course helps employees cope with workplace stress, anxiety, and depression

By Krista Baliko Posted: January 17, 2020 5:00 a.m.

Nichole Faller, a U of R PhD clinical psychology student, has developed an online therapy program to help reduce stress and anxiety for employees of small- to mid-sized businesses.
Nichole Faller, a U of R PhD clinical psychology student, has developed an online therapy program to help reduce stress and anxiety for employees of small- to mid-sized businesses. Photo: U of R Photography

As January drags on, many people across Canada wake up in the dark. They also commute to and from work without any sunlight, and the temperatures can be bitterly cold. Bills from Christmas start rolling in, while New Year’s resolutions to get fitter and healthier are broken.

“Mid-January definitely takes a toll on people’s mental health,” says Nichole Faller, a PhD clinical psychology student in the University of Regina’s Online Therapy Unit.  “With on-the-job stressors added to the mix – such as tense meetings and demanding deadlines –the results can be increased work-related stress, anxiety, and depression.”

While employees of larger companies often have resources to help with job-related mental health issues, the same can’t often be said about those who work for small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs are companies with less than 500 employees).

“To help employees of SMEs manage and reduce their stress and anxiety, I’ve released a new online therapy program specifically for them called the Workplace Coping Strategies Course,” says Faller.

Faller says that the course addresses the unique set of challenges that employees of SMEs often face – such as having fewer employees to cover absences and the lack of privacy or confidentiality that comes with working for smaller organizations.

During the course, participants are provided with four short, daily lessons that help them to identify what anxiety and depression in the workplace look like, what sorts of workplace accommodations are available to SME employees – along with strategies for requesting them.

“We also teach about the pros and cons of disclosing mental health concerns, and equip people with tools to help them manage and reduce their anxiety and depression symptoms,” explains Faller, who adds that the course is free to Canadians who work in SMEs.

And Faller says the course has been helping.

“After the course, participants provide us with feedback. Recently a participant shared that the program was eye opening and made it easier for them to ask for workplace accommodations,” Faller says.

The Workplace Coping Strategies Course is currently accepting applications to participate in the program.

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