An inspiring Support Network…

Jan 29, 2016 by Énergir in Community
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We spend a lot of time with our colleagues without necessarily being aware of the distress they may be experiencing. At Énergir, we have “Peer Supporters” who are trained to identify situations of difficulty and intervene, if needed.

An employee-driven initiative, the Énergir Support Network is made up of some 80 employees from all levels of the organization, who take their colleagues’ well-being to heart. Many of them decided to get involved after being exposed to difficult situations or cries for help; others simply joined out of a desire to help. Thanks to the Network, they have the proper training and tools to intervene appropriately.

Listen, support, refer

A Peer Supporter is neither a specialist nor a therapist. First and foremost, a Peer Supporter is someone who is attuned to other people’s problems, who doesn’t hesitate to initiate dialogue, and who knows how to listen without judging, always respecting confidentiality. If specific help is required, the employee will be referred to the appropriate resources, such as the company’s Employee Assistance Program.

In addition to their training, the Peer Supporters are equipped with a kit that contains a comprehensive list of useful references for each specific issue. What’s more, so everyone knows who they are, a job aid has been distributed to all employees with the photos of the Peer Supporters, along with the fastest ways to get in touch with them.

Let’s Not be Afraid to Talk

In honour of Suicide Prevention Week, from January 31 to February 6, we are launching the “Let’s Not be Afraid to Talk” campaign with our 1,500 employees. Whether it be a colleague who expresses his or her distress or another who is doing fine but wants to have an open discussion about suicide, the goal is to encourage employees to destigmatize the subject by talking about it!

On the frontline of the campaign are the Peer Supporters. “Suicide is an extreme example of psychological distress, but it’s important to be able to identify the warning signs upstream of any problems. When someone isn’t doing well, the last place he or she is going to let it show is at work. If the person starts to isolate himself or herself, is irritable or sad, our Peer Supporters have the skills to approach the situation in a way that’s helpful,” explains Josée Morin of the Support Network Organizing Committee, management group.

Use your “feelers”

“We’re here to help without being intrusive. Our role is not to play psychologist, but to listen and relay the information in case of a serious problem,” says Danielle Gauthier, member of the Énergir Support Network. “My job is to be more tuned in, to put my feelers out, and approach colleagues who seem to be going through a rough patch, be it professional or personal.”

A kind word, a look, a presence, a text message or simply holding out a helping hand can sometimes make all the difference.