A thoughtful gesture can brighten someone’s day, and a kind word can leave them feeling appreciated.
It’s why during January — a month typically associated with cold weather, dark mornings and feelings of malaise — Brock University is encouraging faculty and staff to send a note to colleagues to give thanks, share positivity or acknowledge their personal and professional attributes and accomplishments.
The online campaign is a collaboration between Brock’s Health Management and Wellness team and the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving team. It is one of several initiatives at the University recognizing Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday, Jan. 26 — a day dedicated to promoting and raising funds for mental health.
“It’s especially timely this year as many faculty and staff are working remotely and may feel disconnected from colleagues,” said Martina Ciglenecki, Health Management Consultant. “The simple act of sending a note of appreciation or encouragement can help improve someone’s mental health and well-being. It only takes a few minutes out of the day, but the effects can be long-lasting.”
Ciglenecki said reaching out to a colleague is also a great way to help build a culture of compassion and kindness among employees, which is a focus at Brock this year through a year-long initiative to make kindness the norm.
Professor Deborah McPhee sent messages last year to several colleagues with whom she felt she shared a special bond, or she appreciated from afar.
“Mental health is important to each of us and we need to take care of one another in thoughtful and positive ways expressed by words of encouragement,” said McPhee, Chair and Professor with the Department of Organizational Behaviour, Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship and Ethics in the Goodman School of Business. “We often get caught up in day-to-day busy work and don’t take the time to reflect on what these encounters truly mean. Everyone has internal battles going on, and I sincerely hope these tiny shows of support can pay off in a big way.”
Last year, more than 838 unique messages to Brock faculty and staff were sent through the online platform.
Examples of notes sent last year include:
- “Words can’t express how much I appreciate everything you do. I don’t know how I ever functioned before you joined my team. You’re amazing!”
- “Recognizing you for the kind and loving colleague you are and for always supporting us.”
- “I appreciate your wicked sense of humour and unbelievable brain power.”
- “Your enthusiasm — everything from student success, committee work, social activities — is a joy and an inspiration. You make our team strong!”
To participate this year, employees are asked to reflect on how their colleagues have positively impacted them and to share messages of encouragement, acknowledgement or appreciation through the Be Mindful platform. Messages are limited to 150 characters. The number of messages will be tracked, with hopes of surpassing last year’s total.
Those in need of immediate support can call Lifeworks, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider 24-7 at 1-844-990-9137.
Anyone interested in supporting student mental health is invited to make a gift to Brock’s Student Mental Health Fund by visiting brocku.ca/donate
Additional details regarding University initiatives, events and resources planned for Bell Let’s Talk Day will be posted to The Brock News in advance of Wednesday, Jan. 26.