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September 28, 2022
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Refill Your Cup Emotional Support Resources Directory: A new tool for healthcare workers everywhere

A new resource for timely, accessible and low-cost mental health resources is now available. The Refill Your Cup: Emotional Support Resources Directory contains tools, including culturally specific supports, for some of healthcare worker’s biggest stressors like burnout, grief and bereavement and supporting others during times of stress.

The directory was created by members of the Research and Innovation team at VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) in response to findings from a recent survey study conducted with VHA Nurses, PSWs and Rehab Providers entitled Who Meets Home Care Providers’ Emotional Support Needs?

In this study, the Research and Innovation team set out to better understand VHA home care providers’ perspectives on their emotional support needs, current and preferred sources of support, and barriers to accessing resources.

“Over the past three years living and working through a health crisis has put an incredible amount of strain on all of us, but especially on essential workers such as VHA’s workforce. We felt it was important to understand help-seeking behaviours in order to provide meaningful recommendations on how best to protect and support our valued staff and service providers,” said Sonia Nizzer, Clinical Research Coordinator at VHA.

One of the findings that the team learned is that while nurses, personal support workers and rehab service providers indicated that emotional support resources are beneficial, they also indicated that they are not sure what types of affordable resources are available and where to find them, and that they need resources that they can access on their own schedules. Given these responses it was clear that a resource like the Refill Your Cup: Emotional Support Resources Directory would be a useful tool for staff and service providers within the VHA community and beyond.

Eva Di Gregorio, a Master of Social Work practicum student from the University of Windsor and Nicole Moreira, a Research Associate on the Research and Innovation team were at the helm of bringing the directory together. They spent months collating and vetting resources that were low-cost and likely to be helpful to home care workers. They also worked closely with a provider-partner advisory group including 2 PSW Coaches, 1 Registered Practical Nurse and 1 Occupational Therapist connected to the study to ensure that the information was accessible, and the topics were relevant.

In fact, the name of the directory “Refill Your Cup” came directly from a PSW provider-partner who used that phrase to describe how emotionally draining home care work can be and how challenging it can be to “refill your own cup” at the end of the day. The directory has information on supports ranging from mental health apps, webinars, information on mental illness and how to support others. In addition to the publicly available resources found in the directory on our website, an internal version of the directory for VHA staff also includes VHA-specific resources.

“With nation-wide staff shortages, burnout and adjusting to healthcare during the pandemic among other stressors, it’s critical more than ever to have a healthy workforce. Encouraging positive emotional health and well-being is imperative. I think this starts with listening, creating space for wellness and normalizing seeking support,” said Sonia.

To explore the Refill Your Cup: Emotional Support Resources Directory, you can view and share it anytime at www.vha.ca/refill-your-cup.