Retired NHL goalie Corey Hirsch has just been named Wellness Ambassador for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC (ICBA) for 2022.
In January, Hirsch will be taking a “Just One More Day” clinic for mental wellbeing across British Columbia.
Hirsch will speak in Victoria (January 20), Surrey (January 21), Fort St. John (February 3), Prince George (February 4), Kamloops (March 10), and Kelowna (March 11).
Free tickets can be found at icba.ca/corey. be reserved
After hanging up his ice skates, Hirsch became an advocate of mental wellbeing.
During his playing days, he struggled with his mental health. When panic attacks and severe weight loss prevented him from playing, he asked his team coach for help.
Hirsch was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and received the treatment he needed.
Hirsch’s lecture tour is part of the ICBA’s Workplace Wellness program, which started in April 2021.
“The program was developed for the special challenges in the construction industry,” says association president Chris Gardner.
According to WorkSafeBC, mental health claims in construction increased by a quarter between 2017 and 2019.
And more than half of the BC workforce who died of opioid overdoses recently worked in construction.
Fortunately for those affected, there are many professional mental health services available.
There are also online resources for mental health information that provide answers to frequently asked questions about this topic.
A good place to start is to look at the mental health continuum model.
“It’s a visual tool to measure and track your state of mental well-being,” said
Aaryn Secker, director of education in the BC division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“If you’re going green on the model, protecting your mental health should be your priority,” said Secker. “Keep in touch with family and friends, eat and sleep a lot, and stay in good physical shape.”
If you are on the yellow or orange part of the continuum, watch out for early warning signs and talk to a friend or colleague about how you are feeling.
“Make lists of yourself with small, manageable goals that are easy to achieve to keep your morale up,” says Secker. “Be patient with yourself and set your own expectations, not those of others.”
However, if you think your head is in the red, Secker says you should see a doctor right away.
Some Important Mental Health Phone Numbers That BC Construction Workers Should Know: BC Mental Health Support Line – 310.6789; HealthLink BC – 811; Crisis Line – 1.800.784.2433.
One of the most common mental health challenges facing male construction workers and men in general is depression, says John Ogrodniczuk, professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and founder of HeadsUpGuys, an online resource for men with depression.
Depression is a serious condition, says Ogrodniczuk.
“It’s a ‘upstream indicator’ of suicidal potential that needs prompt treatment,” he said.
Ogrodniczuk says there are a lot of misconceptions about depression that keep men from talking about it.
“It’s a myth that depression is a sign of personal weakness,” he said. “In fact, it’s a real disease.”
Another common misconception is that men shouldn’t ask for help when they feel down.
âAsking others for guidance and guidance really means taking control; it’s the smartest thing you can do, âsaid Ogrodniczuk.
Vancouver psychologist Gregory Feehan says depression can have many different causes.
“Significant, persistent pain can lead to depression,” Feehan said. âAnd a concussion or bullying and harassment in the workplace can lead to depression.
Whatever the cause, get help in the early stages. “
Vancouver kinesiologist and masseuse Kerri Blackburn has a construction worker patient in his early 30s who suffered a concussion when he hit his head against a steel beam (without wearing his hard hat).
“The concussion prevented him from doing the normal sporting activities that he enjoyed so much,” said Blackburn. âIt made him depressed and the depression lasted for months. He felt very lost. “
Burnaby psychologist Chris Rowe knows everything about the connection between physical and emotional pain. He cut trees for 20 years before trading forestry for psychology.
Rowe has some practical suggestions to reduce the likelihood that physical stress will turn into psychological ones.
“If you’re a construction worker and you injure yourself, your income will suffer,” Rowe said. âPrepare an emergency fund by putting some money aside on a regular basis. Don’t go into debt too much or spend too much. This way, your convalescence will not become too stressful if you injure yourself and have to take time off from work. “