STF to offer increased, equitable counselling services to members on provincewide basis

November 8, 2019

Mental health issues and general wellness have increasingly become intertwined in the conversation when it comes to teachers and their respective workloads.

The fact was underscored by Troy Milnthorp while introducing the new Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation initiative, the Member and Family Assistance Program, to those in attendance at the recent Local Association Symposium.

According to Milnthorp, the senior managing director, corporate fund services for the STF, there has been a 200 percent increase in counselling visits in the past eight years.

It was therefore hardly a surprise that when the new program was initially introduced, it was unanimously endorsed at the most recent Annual Meeting of Council.

Milnthorp’s presentation confirmed the strains being placed on the current counselling services, while outlining how this stand-alone plan will be more equitable for teachers across the province in terms of access–particularly those in smaller, remote locations.

After an extensive search, the STF has chosen ComPsych Guidance Resources Worldwide as the provider, and the program was launched October 1.

This arrangement gives members access to more than 190 counsellors throughout Saskatchewan in an effort to provide an in-person, short-term, client-focused counselling model. In addition, ComPsych will offer video and telephonic options while providing multilingual services and resources.

Teachers will be automatically enrolled in the new program and eligibility is defined as all people living within the member’s household. The MFAP will be funded through contributions from the Members’ Health Plan (0.02 percent of 2.1 percent).

STF President Patrick Maze indicated the introduction of this new program represents a concerted effort by the Federation to offer services not previously available as a direct result of members feeling increasingly stressed in their work life.

Milnthorp wrapped up his presentation by indicating that the current in-house modelling will be wound down by March 31, 2020.