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Episode 29: Addressing the Health Workforce Crisis Through Fostering Healthy Workplaces
March 21, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated capacity and health human resource (HHR) challenges across health systems in Canada, and around the world. The extent of these challenges has necessitated governments, providers and organizations to think differently about their respective roles and commit to real change.

One of the key challenges in addressing the HHR crisis is identifying how to retain health workers in their roles amidst long-standing and systemic pressures on the workforce – including a high-needs, aging population, staffing shortages, and inadequate focus on worker well-being and retention in recent history. Improvements to workplace culture and workplace mental health are critical to retention efforts.

In this podcast episode, Victoria Wiebe sits down with Eduardo Castro, Ashley Kim, and Nancy Hood from CMHA Ontario to discuss Your Health Space – a free workplace mental health program developed by CMHA Ontario to support health workers’ psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Ed, Ashley, and Nancy will share more about the imperative for change, how the Your Health Space program is inspiring change in health care workplaces across Ontario, and the program’s impact to-date in addressing recruitment and retention challenges on-the-ground.

This is the third part of Santis’ three-part series on health human resources. In November, we held a webinar with thought leaders from across the country to speak about “what it will take” to advance change for Canada’s health human resources crisis. In January, we held the second part of this series, exploring the government perspectives on what it will take to advance change for Canada’s health workforce, current initiatives underway, and the role of collaboration in driving the change we wish to see. You can view both of these webinars on the Santis Health YouTube channel.

Eduardo Castro is Chief Officer of Programs with CMHA Ontario. He has over 28 years of professional experience in health and human services, focused in the field of addictions, mental health, policy & planning, and health promotion. He’s held several leadership positions in community, tertiary care hospital, and regional system settings including with the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network, the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, and CMHA Halton Region Branch.

Ashley Kim is Senior Manager of Operations with Your Health Space, CMHA Ontario.  She oversees data collection, evaluation, and e-learning offerings. She has worked in home care, private nursing and as a clinic nurse, and has always wanted to help others. She brings lived experience of mental health challenges as a Registered Nurse in Toronto to her role and continues to personally work through the stigma associated with seeking mental health supports- not only as a health care worker, but also as a second-generation Korean woman, and mother to two boys.

Nancy Hood is Senior Manager, Learning Development with Your Health Space, CMHA Ontario. Nancy is a social worker by training and has worked in the field of mental health for the last 17 years. She has dedicated her career to raising awareness about mental health and creating brave spaces for Ontarians to have important conversations to address the stigma associated with mental illness and increase help-seeking behaviours.