In the days following the March 13 emergency closure of schools across Ontario, it was clear that supporting the mental health and well-being of the more than 8,000 Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) staff would be paramount. In response to this need, the Communications, Employee Wellness and Indigenous, Human Rights and Equity Departments came together to collaborate on the creation of a regular publication designed to offer resources and supports for staff: Supporting Ourselves, Supporting One Another.
Early editions included information on a range of topics, from how to create an ergonomic and safe at-home work environment, to addressing the anxiety that many feel during a global pandemic. Nancy Carse, Manager of Employee Wellness, explained that the publication has allowed staff to access a wide variety of mental health and well-being supports in one place.
“Rather than a flurry of different resources, we’re able to collect them all in one place,” said Carse. “It makes this information a lot more accessible and useful for our staff.”
The publication, now on it’s 22nd edition, has evolved to include resources designed to support staff learning when it comes to human rights and equity, from both internal and external sources in the community. This includes a selection of written, video and digital resources available to all staff to assist them in expanding their equity consciousness and understanding of their role in combating racism in our system and community.
Kim Radersma, Human Rights Officer in the Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Department, has supported the publication through her expertise in equity and human rights. For Radersma, Supporting Ourselves, Supporting One Another has offered a valuable avenue to provide useful resources to every staff member of the WRDSB.
“Although we can’t meet in person for seminars or professional development, Supporting Ourselves, Supporting One Another has allowed us to stay connected,” said Radersma. “The learning continues for WRDSB staff, even at a distance.”