Talent Development Centre

All posts by Breigh Radford

Let’s Talk About It… Grief

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

Bell Let's TalkToday marks Bell’s Let’s Talk Day with national efforts to remove the stigma of mental health.  It really is a great thing to have in our society, this constant push to talk about our feelings. But how many times do you really talk about stuff?  About the self-loathing, self-doubt, about weird feelings you don’t even know how to articulate let alone deal with?  That stuff is hard. There is no abundance of professionals to help you through plus there is a societal stigma looming over you with a bubble that says “you are a lesser human being” for having them – where do you begin?

With so many areas of mental illness to cover I decided to pick just one:  Grief.  Today marks the anniversary of my brother’s death.  Stephen died, 3 years ago from Pneumonia.  It devastated my family; my parents haven’t been quite the same.  Nor really have any of us.  We had to deal with this loss and with feelings we were not familiar with, together and as a family.  Was this mental illness? Certainly, situational yes; long-term, it could have been.  A normal and important part of life, death has to be dealt with, however uncomfortable.  As well as lots of personal reflection, tears, and of course time, here is how my family dealt with it:

Journal

  • You don’t have to be a journalist to know how to write, it doesn’t even have to make sense or be spell checked, but you can pour your heart out into the pages and feel the relief.
  • Move your words towards a positive viewpoint, entry by entry.
  • Look back to see how far you’ve come, if you think you have not progressed, write about it. Keep writing until nothing else comes to mind, then you’ve had enough — until the next entry

Really Talk it Out

  • Seek out a grief counsellor, many Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) can help in this area with referrals, reference material and support groups.
  • Talk to your family, and friends — really talk to them — be vulnerable, be honest, they will still love you, and your feelings will dissipate.

Take a Step Outside

  • Get physical, grief can affect our whole body, it is a physical and mental loss. One of my siblings had so much rage he hung a punching bag in his garage and punched until he could no more.
  • Take the dog out — again, and again until you too are ‘dog tired’. Sleep will come easier and deeper that way.  Your subconscious will be able process your feelings, a two in one kind of deal!

Allow yourself to feel sad, don’t push the feelings away and don’t self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol.  Keep a healthy menu on hand and give yourself time.  Perhaps for my family the one biggest thing that got us through was our sense of humour and sharing stories of Stephen.  My heart still breaks but now I know ways to deal with that.

Baby Boomers v.s. Millennials: How to Communicate and Overcome the Generation Gap

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

How many times have you heard that the key to a good relationship is communication? Probably forever! But how well do you communicate with the different generations. Recently, I was told by a Baby Boomer (ages 54-72) that Millennials (ages 22-37) only know how to communicate through text. Shortly after, I was told by a Millennial that Baby Boomers are demanding and unappreciative. That got me thinking – they both have so much in common, but they don’t listen and tend to interpret the message into their own words.

Now, I belong to Generation X (ages 38-53) and lately I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in the middle of these two large demographic groups. It is exhausting being their mediator, so here are some tips you may want to consider:

Tips for Baby Boomers

  • Appreciate and take advantage of the energy and curiosity of a Millennial. They can likely do a task quicker via an app or a Google search. Try and get sucked into their energy and world, it could be fun!
  • Engage them! Millennials are more than an employee or an annoying team member, they want to feel that there is meaning in their life and job and be heard (so listen!). Instead of “Yes, but…” try “Yes, and…” – it is a sure way to show you are open to their ideas.

Tips for Millennials

  • Take advantage of the wisdom and experience the Baby Boomers have. They were young once and may give you a different perspective to consider.
  • Consider communicating to the Baby Boomer in their preferred method, not yours. Improve your influence factor by learning how to present to a different demographic in a way they understand. Use the original Facetime perhaps? Do your homework and when making a ‘pitch’ be professional, present all sides of the argument, and talk facts, not feelings.

Tips for All

  • Respect goes both ways. Be sure to ask questions, learn and never assume.
  • Clarify and confirm what you have discussed. For example:
    • “Just to clarify, you want me to begin the research project today and get back to you with an estimated completion date by tomorrow at the end of day?” OR
    • “Regarding our last meeting and discussion, I have thought further about working from home and I understand the policy as it relates to my role. I want to confirm that you are aware that I won’t be working in the office two days a week. I’ll start this program next Tuesday.”

Good communication always starts with a conversation, whether it be in person, phone, email or text. Either demographic can start the dialogue, but let’s start it and leave the Gen Xers out of it for a while.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

Let's Talk About Mental HealthIt’s about time we started talking about Mental Health, not just in the workplace but everywhere — at schools, at the dinner table — we need to make it a part of our everyday vernacular.  Why? Why now? Is it just another buzz word?  Hardly.

Mental Health is what it implies: health for the mind. There are too many examples of workplace violence where the root cause, given by officials, is the mental health of the perpetrator.  How many examples have to be given before we take action?  How many people have to suffer in silence before being heard?  How many generations have to go through the pain of stigma? The solution begins with a conversation. Why wouldn’t you want to talk about it… heck, we talk about everything else!

One of the ways we talk about mental health is through our social involvement and sharing our stories.  At Eagle, we encourage a community approach to promote all health.  We partner with a national gym to give staff a membership discount, therefore, boosting physical well-being.  This in turn helps deal with anxiety and depression; it also gets employees involved in another social circle, helping reduce feelings of isolation. We encourage discussions through workshops, have information posted on the company intranet and send the team regular emails on the topic. I myself attended a Mental Health First Aid workshop in order to provide immediate support for anyone who is in crisis.   This all helps create an environment where mental health can be spoken about freely and without stigma.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are lots of initiatives to help generate discussion on this subject, with more and more people speaking up and getting involved.  How can you help? Get educated about mental health!  Listen to people in a non-judgemental way; let them talk freely and comfortably about problems.  Help the person feel hope and optimism; it is after all, a real medical condition.  Encourage them to seek help and guidance; there are a ton of effective treatments out there.

Today, January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk Day, where every time you talk, text and join in on social media, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. The goal is to open discussion about mental illness and offer new ideas and hope for those who struggle. In addition, the first week in May is National Mental Health Week. What happens the rest of the year is up to you. How will you join the conversation and help end the stigma on Mental Health?