AdaptiveYYC is a new initiative designed for non-profits and small businesses to help build resilience and buffer against stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employee health and mental well-being are critical to business success, a healthy economy, and a thriving community. The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the need for mental health supports and the opportunity to help individuals build their resiliency in the workplace. The stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, along with the increased social isolation because of remote work, have put pressure on the well-being of many individuals. Employers have a key role to play in supporting the mental health of their teams, but they also need access to the right tools and resources.
United Way invests in and collaborates on mental health initiatives that decrease barriers and increase access to supports for individuals and families living in Calgary and the surrounding area, ensuring those impacted by mental health concerns can easily access the supports they need before the issues become deep-rooted. As part of our commitment to solving complex social issues, we sit on The City of Calgary’s Community Action on Mental Health & Addiction (CAMHA) Stewardship Group. Working together this group identified a gap in mental health supports for entrepreneurial or small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations. To address this need, United Way partnered with headversity to develop AdaptiveYYC.
Through the headversity app and coaching workshops, AdaptiveYYC increases individuals’ capacity to respond to the adverse impacts of the pandemic (and stress in general) by developing their resilience. The initiative comprises three team workshops (Emotional Well-Being, Relational Wellness, and Belonging), 24/7 personalized support, and individual training and skill-building to protect and promote mental well-being.
The AdaptiveYYC initiative is here to help teams from non-profits, small- and medium-sized businesses, and government-funded organizations build resilience and mental well-being to continue working to the best of their ability in these difficult times. We believe everyone should access the tools and strategies to help them live happier and more purposeful lives.
Building resilience and supporting mental well-being in the workplace.
As we launch the AdaptiveYYC initiative, we asked three leaders from each organization to share their insights about the program and the needs in Calgary workplaces.
Why was it important for you to develop the AdaptiveYYC initiative?
Beth Gignac, Chief Operating Officer, United Way Calgary and Area
Partnership is who we are–we’re the “United” Way! We know that the best solutions happen when strengths are leveraged, and AdaptiveYYC has certainly been an opportunity for each partner to bring our core strengths to the project – we’re better together! As part of our commitment to solving complex social issues, we already work with partner agencies on community-based initiatives, including those that are focused on mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention. This was an important opportunity for us to collaborate to bring support to the non-profit and small business space.
Jason Gotwalt, Director of Partnerships at headversity
Our roots are here in Calgary—it’s our home. We’re a family; and like we do for our own families, we are here to support each other and help each other grow in the face of adversity. The AdaptiveYYC initiative is about synchronizing the best minds and technology to deliver tangible, practical, and actionable strategies to keep the people that serve Calgary’s public and not-for-profit sector ahead of adversity.
Why is offering resiliency training in the workplace a priority for you and your organization?
Jason: Resiliency is a core skill set in any person’s ability to perform, when times are good or when times are tough. At headversity, resilience is our core competency. We have something of value to give back to the community, that anyone or any organization can immediately action and use to benefit themselves or their dependents.
Beth: Learning how to be resilient and being able to practice these skills, daily, is critical to personal success. And, if I can be my best self and my whole self at work, then I can make a better contribution and better support my colleagues and teams, which leads to better outcomes in our communities and for the people who depend on us for support.
As leaders in the community (and for your teams), the pandemic has been a really difficult situation for everyone, how do you take care of yourself so you can be there for your teams and the community?
Jason: Fortunately, being in the position I am and having this training at my fingertips (literally), I pay close attention to my mindset and my energy management. More practically, I make time to run and make time to check-in with my perspective on things to ensure that I continue to think accurately and steer my emotions constructively.
Beth: I take walks and am committed to healthy distractions such as learning a new skill. In 2020, I was able to spend more time on my bike and my longboard, enjoying the beautiful trails in and around Calgary. Getting outside certainly provides me with time for introspection, quiet and perspective. I also make sure to check in with my teams and individuals to make space just to talk if needed. It’s important to be human and connect with each other.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Jason: Becoming our most resilient self is less about the ‘bounce-back’ factor, assessing whether we’ve clawed our way back to where we were, and more about a daily practice of preparing ourselves to move forward, regardless. Relating this to the pandemic, where I was in March 2020 doesn’t matter anymore; all that matters is where I am today and the tomorrow to which I contribute today.
Beth: One quote that comes to mind by Ralph Waldo Emerson is “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Our partnership has been created with an enthusiastic focus on supporting each other and people in our community through our collaborative strengths.