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Don’t let the ‘winter blues’ get you down

Queen's University offers a wide range of supports for community members, including the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provided by Homewood Health.

For some people winter is a time to get outdoors, enjoy the snow-filled landscape, and get active. But for others the constant cold and short daylight hours can be a grind.

Winter Weather
Queen's University can be a beautiful place in the winter, but the short daylight hours can have a negative effect on some people. (University Communications)

For Queen’s employees and family members who struggle with winter – including, for some people, serious conditions such as depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – there is a wide range of supports on offer, including the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provided by Homewood Health.

Free, confidential and easy to access the EFAP provides services for Queen’s employees and their dependents, including counselling, coaching, information, and support for all types of issues relating to mental health, health management, and achieving greater personal and workplace well-being, explains Sydney Downey, Manager of Return to Work Services at Queen’s.

“We have set up important supports for Queen’s employees that are easily accessible and preventative, that allow them to engage fully in whatever they do here at the university,” she says. “It is important to us that they are present, engaged and healthy and therefore we have gone to lengths to establish different support structures, one of them being our EFAP provider. This service is available, accessible and free and we strongly encourage employees to be more preventative in their health care.”

Homewood Health has been providing confidential EFAP services to Canadian employees and their family members for over 33 years. Services provided include healthy eating plans, employment coaching, counselling, and much, much more. This support network is available 24/7.

Overseeing the program at Queen’s is the EFAP committee, which includes representatives from all the unions at the university as well as for non-unionized workers.

“The members of the EFAP committee represent a wide range of departments and groups here at Queen’s and are a valuable resource as they can assist Queen’s employees in accessing the services and answer any questions regarding the program,” Ms. Downey says.

For more information on the Queen’s EFAP, visit the Human Resources website.

For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French).