This week PHC is celebrating National Mental Health Week. We chatted with Linda Rankin, coordinator of Health Promotions and Psychological Safety, on her new role created specifically to provide information and resources to staff with regards to their physical and psychological health, and to assist with the implementation of the Canadian Standards Association National Standard on Psychological Safety.

How did you get to where you are today? Were there any defining moments that set you up for success?
Where I find myself today can be attributed, in part, to my being open to pursuing new opportunities & interests. I can’t say everything has always turned out as I hoped, but I look at the ventures that didn’t succeed not as failures but as valuable lessons learned for the next opportunity.

A defining moment was meeting Sandy Coughlin (director of Occupational Health & Safety at PHC) when she came to VCH during consolidation as the team lead. She is a leader who supports her staff — a mentor and a friend. She contributes to making working in Occupational Health & Safety a great experience.

Your new position sounds exciting and dynamic. If you don’t mind, could you define both Health Promotions and Psychological Safety?
Health promotion is a proactive approach to increasing awareness, enhancing motivation and providing support to facilitate lifestyle changes that lead to positive health choices leading to optimum health.

Psychological safety, as it pertains to the work environment, aims to protect the mental health of employees and the prevention of psychological harm. PHC senior leadership has given support to using, as a planning framework, the “National Standards of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.” There are13 standards in total which PHC will work towards adopting over the next several years.

What are you most excited about when it comes to your new role?
I’m most excited about finding out from PHC employees what supports, resources, programs, etc., they want to see that will help and support them in their journey towards optimal health. We all “know” the changes in lifestyle which will enhance health and wellbeing, but I don’t think we always know how to create opportunities or find the motivation to make it happen. I look forward to sharing resources and facilitating programs which will make positive health practices an easier choice. 

If you’re able to disclose any kind of rollout plan or timeline for when staff can take advantage of new resources, please share!
It is still early days and as such, rollout plans and timelines are still being developed. As they become available, they will be shared with staff in PHC News and on the Occupational Health & Safety intranet link. 

Obviously this is a unique position not possible at every health organization. How would you say the culture at PHC enabled the development of a role like this?
I always think of the PHC culture in terms of being in a small town. People for the most part look out for one another, want the best and are supportive of their colleagues. The development of the Health Promotion and Psychological Safety role is an extension of the culture of caring, is supported by senior leadership and speaks to our Mission, Vision and Values. 

If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?
I’d make clean, safe drinking water close and accessible to every village, town and city. It would help to improve the health of infants, children and the community as a whole. Girls and women would not have to walk miles to fill a bottle with water and crops and gardens could be planted. I’ve travelled to many developing countries and have seen first hand the difference access to clean water makes to a community.