By Mimi Williams, Communications
“There are no words to describe the strain and stress that AUPE members have endured since last spring,” says AUPE Vice President Karen Weiers. “Providing frontline services to Albertans isn’t easy in the best of times. Doing so through a pandemic has been especially hard on our members and their families.”
Weiers, who chairs AUPE’s Membership Services Committee, says she was pleased when Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad negotiated with the provider to expand Crisis Support to include all types of crises, not just those that are work-related. Support is now also available to members’ immediate family members.
“Members across all sectors have had an extraordinary year. Some have lost co-workers to COVID-19, others to the opioid epidemic. Very few of us have come through this without suffering some sort of loss,” adds Weiers. “Many members have had to get through this with the spectre of job loss or wage rollbacks looming on top of everything else. That kind of pressure and stress doesn’t get left behind at work.”
We hope that members know that this service is available to them. They should cut out the number and stick it on the fridge so that their family members know that the service is available to them. This pandemic has been hard on everyone. All spouses and other members of the household have to do is tell the service that they are related to an AUPE member.
Weiers points to a poll conducted by Leger last fall on behalf of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada that indicated 14 per cent of respondents reported moderately severe/severe current symptoms of depression, 24 per cent reported moderate/severe symptoms of anxiety, and five to six percent had seriously contemplated suicide since March 2020.
“These numbers are alarming, and we hope that members know that this service is available to them. They should cut out the number and stick it on the fridge so that their family members know that the service is available to them,” Weiers says. “This pandemic has been hard on everyone. All spouses and other members of the household have to do is tell the service that they are related to an AUPE member.”
Weiers also wants to take this opportunity to remind members facing a financial emergency that help may be available through the Members’ Benefits Benevolence Fund.
“Life has a nasty habit of throwing unexpected curve balls at us,” says Weiers. “The Benevolence Fund is an important backstop for members with a one-time financial emergency and nowhere else to turn.”