YOUR BENEFITS: COUNSELLING SERVICES
At their last meeting on April 29, 2021, the NBTF Group Insurance Trustees decided to extend the eligibility criteria counselling services.
Effective May 1st, the qualifications required by the group insurance plan to obtain reimbursement for the services of a counsellor are:
- Master’s degree in social work
- Master’s degree in education with a major in counselling
- Certification from the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
The maximum reimbursement for expenses incurred for counselling services is $600 per person, per calendar year.
Note: This change does will not impact the list of already eligible counsellors.
Pandemic life has illuminated the need to focus on improving wellness
If you asked most people how well they feel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they would likely express their vulnerability and fatigue. Public Health protocols surrounding social distancing, isolation/quarantine requirements, the demands of working from home while simultaneously helping school-age children with online learning or managing the daily challenges of caring for younger children are all having detrimental effects on people’s mental, physical and emotional health.
People are experiencing insomnia and disinterest in tasks that require physical effort. There’s been increases in obsessive-compulsive behaviours, social anxiety, and germaphobia relating to cleanliness protocols. Some people have also experienced significant losses, be it of the lives of family and friends who have succumbed to COVID-19, or their own health if they happen to be dealing with longer-term effects of COVID-19 on their lungs and heart, for example.
Right now, researchers and psychologists are quite concerned about the long-term effects that stress has been having on people as we continue to live in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re apprehensive because of the duration and scale of all aspects of life that have been affected. Many people who have experienced job loss have had difficulty maintaining adequate food supply and/or maintaining housing or related costs. They have yet to see reliable recovery and are dealing with high rates of adverse mental health due to chronic stress.
Joshua C Morganstein, Assistant Director of the Centre for Study of Traumatic Stress, points to catastrophic events worldwide — everything from the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the SARS pandemic in 2003 to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. He cautions that the “adverse mental health effects of disasters impact more people and last much longer than the health effects.”2 Morganstein recognizes how detrimental stress is and how deeply it can affect people and consequently, society. He advocates that we need to begin to view stress “like a toxin, such as lead or radon” and appreciate how exposure to stress will affect people longer-term.
However, for a subset of people, pandemic life has been “remarkably positive.”4 For some people who experienced high levels of stress in the pre-pandemic world, the restrictions have reduced their anxiety, eliminated panic attacks, and they have enjoyed a greater sense of freedom and safety. In these instances, they’ve achieved better work-life balance and accomplished tasks they may have previously avoided, such as decluttering and have even started hobbies.