2021 Monthly Webinar Series

The Cultivating Community Wellness Initiative will host monthly Webinars the first Wednesday every month on the Zoom platform covering various topics related to mental health. These Webinars are open to everyone working in Developmental Services and will focus on a variety of topics related to employee mental health and well-being. You can find recordings of each Webinar on this page and information related to upcoming sessions. Click on a topic and date to expand and see more content.

Introduction to the Cultivating Community Wellness Initiative

June 2, 2021

Nicole Bobbette, an assistant professor at Queen’s University and Occupational Therapist shared the findings of our survey of direct support professionals from earlier in the pandemic. You can read the short report here. This study highlights the mental health needs of the essential workforce that is direct support professionals. Based off of this need, we have created the Cultivating Community Wellness Initiative with the goal of preparing Ontario’s Developmental Services Workforce for challenges related to mental health and compassion fatigue. Dr. Lunsky outlined our initiative and how we hope to build capacity within DS agencies across the province to support the mental health in their agency and foster a Community of Practice.

A few resources you may find helpful:


Vaccines, Variants, and Vacations

July 7, 2021

In this webinar, Nicole Bobbette and Yona Lunsky were joined by Angela Gonzales, an Advanced Practice Nurse and Health Care Facilitator at Surrey Place and the Community Network of Specialized Care to discuss “v-words”. Angela provided an overview of variants of concern – what are they? How are variants different from the original virus? How are we tracking variants, and how are we doing here in Ontario regarding vaccines and COVID cases? Yona provided an update on COVID vaccines in Canada, including our progress country-wide. Yona also spoke to challenges around vaccination of people with developmental disabilities and how to make it more accessible and supportive for people with needle or medical anxiety. Nicole Bobbette spoke about and the importance of vacations and the benefits of time-off for mental health.

Grief and Loss During the COVID-19 Pandemic

August 4, 2021

Many people have experienced grief and loss throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this month’s webinar, Nadia Mia and Catherine Baquero, two Social Workers from Surrey Place, share ideas and resources to help staff take care of themselves and those that they support when dealing with grief or loss. They began the session by providing an overview of grief and loss, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They discussed how grief and loss impact us differently as individuals, “breaking bad news” and having tough conversations, as well as practical tips and supports for clients. The conversation also touched on ways staff can support themselves and each other where staff shared their ideas via chat. Nadia and Catherine also shared their experience running a bereavement group on-line during the pandemic.

General Resources
Resources For Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Slides Watch Webinar

Prioritizing Meaningful Activities in Everyday Life

September 1, 2021

What we do everyday matters. This webinar highlights the important connection between meaningful activities and our health. Engaging in meaningful activities has been shown in research to be one of the primary coping mechanisms for staff during the pandemic. Nicole Bobbette discusses how work has changed and strategies for finding meaningful moments for ourselves and the people we support during these challenging times.

General Resources

Slides Watch Webinar

Coping with COVID-19 – Supporting our Mental Health and Well-being

October 6, 2021

Join Drs. Sanjeev Sockalingham and Allison Crawford for a webinar on fostering staff mental health and their experiences supporting mental health during COVID-19.

  • Mindful Art with Sue Hutton: Tuesday October 26 at 7:00PM & October 29 at 1:00PM
  • Six session series of mindfulness for sector staff, facilitated by Sue Hutton, MSW, a seasoned mindfulness instructor with many years in our sector – For six weeks, starting November 10 at 6:30PM. To register for this series, email Megan.AbouChacra@camh.ca
  • CAMH Clinician scientists working on the CCW Initiative are also holding some brief ACT workshops for DSPs and supervisors beginning later this month. Email PACT@camh.ca for more details.
  • Learn more about ECHO Ontario. Coping with COVID-19 ECHO takes place on Fridays – Register here. There are still spots for Developmental Sector staff to participate in a 6-week ECHO focused on developmental disabilities and mental health – Register Here.

Slides Watch Webinar

Conversations with Staff in the Developmental Services Sector

November 3, 2021

Join a panel of staff working in the Developmental Services sector across Ontario as they discuss their perspectives on the challenges and highlights of their work during this time. This webinar features:

  • Joel Jamieson Supervisor from Community Living Six Nations
  • Paul Kyte Direct Support Professional from Community Living North Frontenac
  • Amber Alexander Program Supervisor from Parents for Community Living KW
  • Amiee Kim Job Developer from Community Living Kincardine and District
Highlights from the Panel
Question: If you had the opportunity to share your thoughts and perspectives with decision makers, such as the Ministry, about the state of mental health in the sector, what would you say if you had a few moments in an elevator?

Click on the panelist’s name to reveal their answer

I would talk to them continuously about pay across the board. I know we are all struggling for employees, but in the end, money’s not always the main factor. If you love your job and you want to be there and come every day – you’re going to come every day. Would you like to have three dollars more an hour? Absolutely.

Moral Injury and Distress

December 1, 2021

Over the last year, we have been faced with many difficult situations that have challenged our values and morals. These situations can have a lasting impact on many aspects of our lives. Join us for a discussion with Dr. Anupam Thakur on moral injury, distress, and the impact on our mental health. This webinar will focus on raising awareness of this important topic and strategies for addressing moral distress in your workplace.