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Fostering Mental Wellness: A Call to be Kind for our Employees

At Covenant House Vancouver, supporting mental health isn’t just a passing concern; it’s at the heart of everything we do. As we celebrate Mental Health Week, we’re reminded of the importance of kindness and compassion in nurturing wellness, both for the youth we serve and our dedicated staff members.

Our commitment to mental health extends beyond words, it is ingrained in a culture that values every individual as a human being, and it fosters respect, trust, and genuine relationships. This ethos isn’t confined to the youth we serve; it’s equally extended to our employees, and recognizes their well-being as paramount.

During Mental Health Week, our calendar brims with activities aimed at uplifting spirits and fostering connections among our staff. From engaging workshops, like Cultivating Optimism in Uncertain Times, with Olivia Mclvor, and free memberships to AURA, the sleep and meditation app, to a kindness calendar that encourages acts of self-care and compassion, we offer diverse avenues for rejuvenation and growth that enrich our workplace environment.

But our dedication to mental wellness transcends a single week. Year-round, we invest in the well-being of our employees through tangible support systems, such as:

  • 100% coverage of counselling costs, up to $4,000 for frontline employees and  $2,000 for admin staff.
  • A wellness spending account for eligible staff. Regular, active employees who work 20 hours or more per week are eligible for a wellness account. This can be used towards gym memberships, personal training sessions, fitness equipment, health and wellness services performed by alternative health practitioners, such as stress management, herbalist, touch therapy, light therapy and hydrotherapy.
  • Discounted subscriptions to Mobi by Shaw Go bike memberships.
  • We celebrate employee wellness month in October with different wellness activities for staff to participate in such as Wellness Wednesday that includes guided movement and meditation, art therapy sessions, cooking classes, and wellness and financial literacy workshops.
  • Employee and Family Assistance Services available to all staff 24/7, which includes access to counsellors.
  • A culture that encourages and celebrates work-life balance.
  • Various health and wellness initiatives all year long such as a gratitude challenge, a digital detox, onsite massages, onsite flu clinics, and puppy therapy.
  • A holistic approach to wellness that highlights resources for all eight elements of wellness: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, occupational, environmental, financial, and spiritual well-being.

The eight elements of wellness serve as the cornerstone of our approach to employee wellness that guide us in crafting comprehensive programs and initiatives that address the diverse needs of our team members. From providing access to mental health resources and promoting work-life balance to offering financial education and fostering spiritual growth, we’re dedicated to supporting our employees in every facet of their lives.

Amrita, Employee Experience Lead at Covenant House Vancouver, says, “Our wellness initiatives at Covenant House were created to build a healthy and supportive environment for our staff with the goal of empowering each member to thrive both personally and professionally. Our initiatives focus on a holistic approach to well-being, by addressing various dimensions of wellness such as emotional, physical, and social. By prioritizing employee well-being, we strive to create an environment where every team member feels cared for and valued.”

It’s this holistic commitment to wellness that played a significant role in earning Covenant House Vancouver prestigious designations as both a BC Top Employer and a Canada’s Top 100 Employer. By prioritizing the eight elements of wellness and embedding them into our organizational culture, we’ve created an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive personally and professionally.

Amrita believes that fostering a culture built on wellness is integral to the organization. “We’re constantlydriven by the well-being of our employees and the importance of nurturing a supportive workplace culture. Our diverse range of wellness initiatives reflects our commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported in their journey towards holistic wellness.”

Our People and Culture department leads the charge, by orchestrating activities year-round to foster a vibrant and supportive workplace. This dedication isn’t just about creating a positive environment for our employees — it’s about ensuring that they’re equipped to provide the best care possible for the vulnerable young people we serve.

In essence, fostering mental wellness isn’t just a responsibility; it’s a calling — a call to be kind, compassionate, and supportive, both to those we serve and to each other. At Covenant House Vancouver, we’re committed to answering that call every day, to ensure that kindness remains at the heart of everything we do.