Are you experiencing mental health concerns due to work-related stress? You are not alone.

The reality for many of us at Humber is that we work in areas that are chronically understaffed and usually, our work is undervalued. To ensure we provide students with high quality education and services we are often working well beyond the hours we have been hired to work. Whether or not we are working overtime, many of us are feeling the stress of constantly feeling that we do not have enough time and/or resources to perform our best at work. We speak up and ask for what we need and deserve but there is little or no action taken by management to improve our working conditions. Instead, we are expected to frequently do more with less.

It is important to be cognizant of the fact that the poor working conditions many of us experience can have an extremely negative impact on our health. For some, the negative impacts can lead to mental health concerns including difficulties related to job burnout.

Consider the following statistics:

  • According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.” (retrieved Feb. 5, 2024)
  • According to the Canadian HR Reporter, “overall, about 500,000 Canadians are unable to work due to poor mental health every week. And 38 per cent have taken time off work in the last five years due to mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, depression and burnout, according to a report commissioned by the Future Skills Centre.” (retrieved Feb. 5, 2024)

We encourage faculty experiencing mental health concerns to reach out to a medical practitioner for help. AND…be sure to use the benefits and exercise the rights the union fights hard to ensure we have including but not limited to:

Paramedical Benefits through SunLife 

Through our last round of bargaining we achieved significant improvements to our paramedical benefits which increased from $2000 per year to $4750 per year. Our paramedical benefits can be used to access psychologists and/or mental health counsellors along with many other services to help you in managing your health. Be sure to make use of these benefits if you need them.

Sick Time

Sometimes, even with an accommodation plan in place to provide someone with more support with regards to managing mental illness while remaining at work, what is most needed, is time away from work. Just as we can use sick time for things such as the flu, Covid, recovering from surgery and so on, sick time can be used when we need time away from work due to mental illness. Steps to follow when you need to take sick time can be found here:

Workplace Accommodations

Keep in mind that if you are experiencing mental illness and it is interfering with your ability to meet the demands of your job, you can explore the possibility of workplace accommodations through the Office of Occupational Health and Safety. NOTE: We strongly encourage you to speak with our Equity Officer before doing so.

Remember – we need to prioritize our own health as we know Humber won’t!

As we enter a new round of bargaining, consider your own working conditions. Are poor working conditions impacting your health? What would make your day-to-day experience of being a Humber employee better?

If you have not done so already, sign up to attend a Local Demand Set meeting on Feb. 13th or 20th to let us know what issues you would like to see addressed in this round of bargaining related to working conditions or other challenges you are experiencing at work.

Kirston Arbour, Equity Officer – Humber Faculty Union

To inquire about supports you can access as a Humber employee in relation to your health, you can contact the Local office: We would be happy to connect with you.