Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) supports 16,000+ union members with 24/7 access to confidential counselling
New Member & Family Assistance Plan makes mental health support services more widely available to address the growing demand for support.
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society
16,000 union members (classroom teachers, school leaders and support staff).
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society is the collective bargaining and professional development organization for all of Manitoba’s 16,000+ public school teachers.
The Society, as a union and professional organization, is dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the welfare of teachers, the status of the teaching profession and the cause of public education in Manitoba.
Employee and Family Assistance Program
Assistance program services specifically designed for working professionals and work/life struggles, including culturally appropriate care.
After the pandemic caused significant strain on teachers and education professionals, workplace well-being became a concern as MTS identified a significant increase in demand for mental health support. The organization found itself and its members grappling with the shadow effects of COVID-19, continuing to impact overall well-being, while access to care was strained due to the demand.
”We often wait too long to access services that support our mental health. Recently, studies have shown that Manitoba teachers are burning out at a higher rate than their counterparts across the country. As an organization dedicated to the well-being of its membership, we had to shift to a model of service that people could access before things got dire. We also wanted a model that took into account the whole person—which includes their families—no matter where they lived and worked. This program has allowed us to better meet our members’ needs with a diverse array of services, and we are extremely pleased with the results so far.”
–James Bedford, Manitoba Teachers’ Society
MTS’ existing mental health support was limited to a small group of permanent in-house counsellors expected to serve the entire province. The demand for services greatly exceeded the counsellors’ ability to serve the members in a timely and equitable way. With only a few internal resources, it was hard to serve the more remote areas of Manitoba or to be able to match a member with a counsellor that met their unique preferences or cultural needs.
The union also considered the mental health and well-being of family members a top priority, as family dynamics impact the mental state of those showing up to work on a daily basis. They wanted a way to extend the available support to members’ spouses and dependents, but within the current model of service, this was impossible.
HumanaCare’s EFAP program presented the opportunity for MTS to meet its growing demand for service. In HumanaCare (CloudMD’s EFAP program), with its diverse set of counsellors specializing in mental health and personal life challenges, MTS found their ideal, equitable solution to offer support to members and their families across the province.
Since the partnership was established, MTS has offered access to barrier-free support 365 days a year, 24/7. Members never have to wait until lines open – if they’re struggling at 3 AM, they can go online and complete an intake form right away to access care whenever they need to. And lengthy wait times for services have been greatly reduced. Most members requesting services through the new EFAP are connected to a counsellor in days, not months.
Not only can the provider offer help to any of MTS’ members, no matter where they live, but they can offer it quickly and the outcomes are significant – members can actually achieve their short-term counselling goals, feel better, perform better and live a balanced life.
MTS is extremely pleased with the results of the HumanaCare’s EFAP support to-date. Even in the summer months, the demand persisted.
Approximately 3,200 individuals reached out to the EFAP provider between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 and 1,400 alone made contact throughout the summer months.
Approximately 65% of members who accessed the services in 2022 indicated main concerns as being: anxiety and panic attacks; stress management; personal and emotional issues; marital and relationship issues; and depression and family conflict.
Through the EFAP, more members and their families could work on these struggles and alleviate the pressures they faced in the post-pandemic world. With these challenges being addressed in real time, MTS’ teachers were supported in feeling more resilient and better able to navigate changing times.