Mental Health In The WorkPlace – When Corporate Initiatives Are Not Enough

Within 7 days at any given time about 1/2 million employees in Canada call in sick due to mental health.  Issues run from anxiety, depression to simple burn out due to high demands on the job.  Many employees dealing with mental health often are present in the workforce but not fully present in their job performance, that increases the stress onto them especially when other employees and employers are not aware of the mental health deterioration and ignorance come into play by stating to the employee that they either, not performing their duties, threats of demotion, threats of layoffs. A vicious cycle that has a high risk of increasing mental health deterioration in the workplace.


Many organizations and agencies have brought forth the conversation of mental health, yet some even most are often a quick fix to ensure that employees remain to do the job without organizations paying out for sick leave.  In the Mental Health Profession we often say that not one size fits all, so why are we allowing organizations to advertise Mental Health this way to their employees?! For example promoting yoga as a mental health wellness to all employees may temporarily assist to their own mental health but not all would fit into this category. An individualized approach is a far better way to deal with mental health in the workplace and a far better outcome than a band-aid affect.  For instance, no two employees would recover the same way from a mental health trauma. Everyone heals differently.


So how do we approach individualized Mental Health assistance in the Workplace? It is simple. Like any physical injury, we ensure the employee that they will receive help where it seems fit to their needs without judgement, or alterations of their job description. According to Mental Health Commission of Canada, states that about 30 percent of short term and long term disability claims are based on mental health issues and illnesses. With an individualized approach an employee may feel like they are being heard instead of giving them a corporate plan of what they need to do to better their mental health with risking their job.  Non-judgement is essential in mental health in the workplace, it is only then we can help our employees feel safe to speak about their own mental health crisis. THIS IS HOW WE HEAL!!

You Are Not Alone!

Mental Health Day with Ottawa Probation and Parole Officers

On September 28, 2017, Founder and Therapist Of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah spoke to Ottawa and Area Probation and Parole Officers about Mental Health in the Workplace.

Everyone Has a Story on how we became the person we are today. It is that very story that not only changes our lives, it helps others know they are not alone!

A raw, heavy emotional day but with this, it showed that our struggles are real and that we must be okay to feel uncomfortable to the idea of talking about our own mental health.

It is in our healing that we find our freedom.

Group picture was taken to advise each other and to others in the Probation and Parole Profession that they are not alone, you Matter, your story matters, your feelings matter, your life matters!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank The morning Speaker an Army Veteran who served in the Canadian Military for 21 years and spoke so candidly about their struggle, the passion, the mental health injury, the hardships and the healing. Special thanks goes out to Elana, a Probation Officer who started this very conversation with our Founder about bringing Mental Health Talk To the forefront for Probation and Parole Officers who are often left unheard and on the sidelines.

We heard you and we hope that if anything , know , YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

3 Steps Forward, 6 Steps Back: The Art of Gratitude and Accomplishments

When we are often in the midst of our own darkness being grateful and seeing our triumphs are much harder to visualize.  We often hear from others including Professionals to implement a gratitude journal, as it may add some light to what we are made of, yet does it really work?!


In the Oprah generation the art of gratitude was quite predominant in the late 90’s.  An idea that entertained that if an individual implements gratefulness in their daily lives, things become a little easier, hurdles don’t look like challenges but lessons.

The downfall of gratitude is when we take a few steps back from healing, the art of gratitude is gone and we begin again from the bottom up. Yes, some may say this is a vicious cycle and some may say, it okay to stumble backwards.


The art of gratitude, is knowing that it is okay to step forward and back and rather seeing it as a “Oprah Generation” to know that even when we fall, it’s our accomplishments that guides us to get right back up and say ” 3 Steps Forward, 6 Steps Back – I AM OKAY WITH THAT – now, that is the art of Gratitude.

Upcoming Events

Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah will be participating  in a number of Events in September.

September 9th, 2017 – Speaking and Supporting Local FireFighters with First Responders Family Resiliency Support Group Ottawa

September 22nd, 2017– On Air with Local Cogeco Tv,  discussing Mental Health and Diversity.

September 28th, 2017 – Speaking to Ottawa and Area Provincial Probation Officers, and Federal Parole Officers, regarding Mental Health in the Workplace, and Trauma.

Is Anyone Out There? – Grieving Survivors of Suicide

 The Scars You Can’t See Are The Hardest To Heal – Unknown

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Peer Support – A Mental Health Circle

 I Accept You For Who You Are

What is exactly peer support?  Peer support was designed to fill in the gaps in our mental health support system. It is not an replacement of therapy, or any form of medical profession. Peer support is a way to share our story and knowing that there are others around us that have gone through a similar story. Peer support isn’t about dishing every detail of our own mental health challenges, it’s about the ability to lend a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart .

The Balancing Act – School and Anxiety

As beginning of a school year quickly approaches, many students whether in primary, secondary or post secondary are excited to start a new year of learning, yet there are many students who don’t feel the same way about school. According to a 2016 survey that was conducted by the Ontario Secondary, College and University Association, about 65 percent of students reported experiencing the feeling of being overwhelmed by anxiety.  Anxiety is often defined as apprehensive about performing normal daily routines, fear, nervousness that can manifest into physical symptoms.  So how do we help students to overcome their anxiety?  We provide tools to assist in helping them cope, called the “coping box”


  So what is a coping box? It’s a box of any size where you can place stuff that provides calmness during stages of nervousness, being overwhelmed and feeling fearful.

So where do you begin in creating a coping box? You can start by placing comforting things that carries through your 5 senses, for instance, something to smell, such as candles, something to hear such as music.

What does a coping box do?  It keeps your mind off things while focusing on something that provides simplicity such as creating art, putting together a puzzle. It also brings in emotional awareness, such as expressing your feelings through drawing, journaling, poetry writing. In addition coping box also provides the ability of creating mindfulness and grounding tools such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation.

Keeping a safety plan cue cards are also essential in your coping box such as contact information of support and resources when coping skills aren’t enough such as connecting with a therapist, a doctor, a friend, and/or crisis line.

When your outside world is in chaos,know that you still have the power to create calmness.


When We Band Aid Trauma

 Mental health/illnesses are rising everyday and services are growing at a rapid pace, however when the demand is so high and supply becomes full, we become the band-aid society. What does that mean?

When issues are only dealt with on a surface level .

What happens if we continue to band-aid? We continue to see the same stigma, the same struggles over and over and over again with no resolution.

At Embracing Empowerment we truly believe “peeling the onion (layers) ” meaning, getting to the “root” of struggles is the only way to reduce stigma and help those who continue to struggle with their own mental health/illness.

Trauma changes people, period. To  understand that every struggle has a root, and in order to omit or diminish the pain we must understand the wounds within.

H.O.P.E – Hold On Pain Ends

 Hope is always hard to spot in the wreckage. But it’s always there – Demi Lovato

You’ve seen the word; you’ve heard it many times and you’ve used the word – Hope. A word so powerful that it can omit pain. The catch, hope only provides its magical being when you feel it, when you speak it, and when you truly hear it. Hope brings us the belief system that there is still good when we are feeling down, or unsure where to turn. Hope makes us feel whole when our world is falling apart. Is it worth it? Absolutely! So Start the conversation, lend a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart.

We Believe In You!


Social Anxiety: Is It Real?

It’s so easy to feel “you’re losing it” when you have social anxiety.

You’re heart races, your body tenses up, you become quite confused, and you feel every ache in your body.

After hours later, you analyze the scenario you were in, dissecting how you should have handled the situation or environment. You feel quite alone, as you see friends and family moving forward with their day.

We’re here to tell you , You’re Not Alone!

In the era of information overload, it can sometimes be counterproductive to our own anxiety.

We are providing tips by stating the reality :

There is no quick fix, yet embracing the fact that there is no “one” way to reduce or manage social anxiety gives you the ability to know you have the power to engage what tips works for your specific anxiety.

Examining your social anxiety from within – meaning there is always a deeper root to everything – self discovery, self-love, self-care gives you the opportunity to explore more of how it all began- as we say at Embracing Empowerment CS- ” peeling the onion”

Understanding that we are imperfect beings is a very powerful tool. Social anxiety teaches us that we are suppose to be perfect, in a perfect situation, in perfect clothing, perfect outlook on life. We are here to say – there is beauty in imperfection. It’s okay to not be okay.  no matter who you are, your economical status, your gender, your culture, your race – you are Worthy and Valued to have all the tools and guidance to help you become a healthier & stronger selves.