The Group Benefits Plan consists of the Health and Dental Plan and the Group Life Insurance Plan with Sun Life Financial. These plans can go through changes and updates from time to time and it is important to keep informed about how these changes may effect you.
GuidanceResources is an added benefit for members of the group benefits plan that give members and their families confidential support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues at no charge. These services are strictly confidential and are available to you and your immediate family members 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone or online.
February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and is a major cause of disability. About 630,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year – that’s one in every four deaths. And every year, about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack.
Statistics According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
• Cardiovascular diseases claimed 630,000 lives in 2016 – 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S.
• Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
• Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 366,000 people annually.
• Heart disease costs the United States about $200 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications and lost productivity.
Some conditions, as well as some lifestyle factors, can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. All persons can take steps to lower their risk of heart disease and heart attack by addressing the following risk factors:
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes mellitus
• Tobacco use
• Physical inactivity
Treatment and Prevention
Fortunately, most people can treat heart disease with proper diet and lifestyle changes:
• Early prevention: Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. Your doctor can provide
suggestions to help you manage your health.
• Regular exercise: Even mild to moderate physical activity can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of
• Proper diet: A healthy diet can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Eat a high-fiber, low sodium and low-fat diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts and contains reduced amounts of red meat and eggs.
• Drink alcohol only in moderation: Adults should consume no more than one to two alcoholic drinks a day to reduce the risk of heart disease.
• Quit smoking: Tobacco use has been proven to be a major contributing factor of cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that smokers’ risk of heart attacks is more than twice the risk for non-smokers.
Exercise for Cardiovascular Health!
Exercise is a major component of heart health and is critical to preventing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that those who meet the minimum requirements reduce their chances of cardiovascular events by 30 to 40 percent.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the recommendations for aerobic or cardiovascular exercise are:
150 minutes per week (30 minutes five days per week)of moderate intensity aerobic exercise. The 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise may be broken into segments of 10-15 minutes but must be sustained for at least 10 minutes per session. 75 minutes per week (25 minutes three days per week) of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise.
Keep in mind that meeting the guidelines for physical activity does not make up for an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
• Strengthen the heart and blood vessels
• Lower blood pressure
• Lower total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL)
• Increase high density lipoprotein (HDL)
• Improve the flow of oxygen
• Reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and some cancers.
• For diabetics, it helps to increase the body’s ability to use insulin to control blood glucose levels.
• Lower heart rate
• Help to maintain or lose weight
Helping Someone Who is Suffering
Whenever people face mental health issues resulting from loss of a loved one, trauma, or any other reason, they need to talk about it in order to heal. To talk, they need willing listeners. Unfortunately, many of us try to avoid listening to people in pain. We may feel like we have enough troubles of our own or be afraid of making matters worse by saying the wrong thing.
What Typically Happens
Sometimes we excuse ourselves by assuming that listening to people who are hurting is strictly a matter for professionals, such as psychotherapists or members of the clergy. Professionals can help in special ways and provide the suffering individual with insights that most of us are not able to offer. But to get that help, individuals in crisis often need guidance. It is natural to feel reluctant or even afraid of facing another person’s painful feelings. But it is important not to let this fear prevent us from doing what we can to help someone who is suffering.
Mental Health First Aid
Just as CPR guides someone with no medical experience in assisting a friend, family member, co-worker or even strangers with a physical crisis, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis, such as suicidal ideation or substance use issues. In both situations, the goal is to help support the victim until appropriate professional help is identified. Mental Health First Aid follows three basic steps:
• Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems
• Intervene to provide initial help
• Guide the person to appropriate professional help What to Do
Although each situation is unique, the most important thing to do is simply be there and listen and show you
care. • Find a private setting where you will not be overheard or interrupted. Arrange things so there are no large objects, such as a desk, between you and the person. • Keep your comments brief and simple so you do not get the person off track. • Ask questions which show your interest and encourage the person to keep talking. For example, “What happened next?” or “What was that like?” • Give verbal and non-verbal messages of caring and support. Facial expressions and body posture go a long way toward showing your interest. Do not hesitate to interject your own feelings as appropriate. • Let people know that it is OK to cry. Some people are embarrassed if they cry in front of others. Handing over a box of tissues in a matter-of-fact way can help show that tears are normal and appropriate. It is also OK if you get a bit teary yourself.
What Not to Do
Do not be distressed by differences in the way people respond. One person may react very calmly, while another expresses strong feelings. One person may have an immediate emotional response while another may be “numb” at first and respond emotionally later.
Emotions are rarely simple. People who are suffering loss often feel anger along with grief. Unless you see signs of actual danger, simply accept the feelings as that person’s natural response at the moment. If a person is usually rational and sensible, those qualities will return once their painful feelings are expressed.
It is natural to worry about saying the wrong thing. People will understand if you say something awkward in a difficult situation. Use this to guide you:
• Do not offer unsolicited advice. People usually will ask for advice later if they need it; initially it just gets in the way of talking things out.
• Do not turn the conversation into a forum for your own experiences. If you have had a similar experience, you may want to mention that briefly when the moment seems right. But do not say, “I know exactly how you feel,” because everybody is different.
• Do not say anything which tries to minimize the person’s pain such as, “You shouldn’t take it so hard” or “It could be a lot worse.”
• Do not say anything which asks the person to disguise or reject his or her feelings such as, “You have to pull yourself together.”
Model of Intervention
This model was developed to help people quit smoking, but it is often used as a model for intervention in the hopes of bringing about behaviour change.
Are you ready to do something to change? Can I help?
How bad is the problem and how can we help?
Make clear, specific, personalized recommendations
Help where and when you can
Refer them to supports at work, such as your EAP, or in the community
Once you have finished talking, it may be appropriate to offer simple forms of help such as:
• Checking about basic things like eating and sleeping
• Sharing a meal may help the person find an appetite
• Giving a ride to someone too upset to drive may mean a lot
Window…on your Pension and Benefits is a newsletter for active members of the pension and benefits plan, and is published each spring and fall. This newsletter contains details of health and dental benefits, messages from the Pension and Benefits Board, and important updates regarding the pension plan.
Continuation of Pension and Group Benefits Form – Members must complete this form prior to leave declaring their decision to stay in / suspend participation in both the pension plan and group life insurance benefits. Members can choose to opt to stay in one and not the other. Regardless of their choice, health and dental coverage will be maintained.
2. You will then be asked to enter your Organization Web ID:COM589
3. On the next page, you will be asked to enter the first five (5) characters of the name of your organization: Presb. When you’ve finished, click the Submit button on the bottom of the page.
4. On the next page, you will be asked to select your organization – Presbyterian Church in Canada – from a drop-down menu. When you have finished, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page.
5. You will then be asked to enter a User Name and Password. Both can be anything you would like but should be something you will remember. The User Name (often your name) must be at least six characters long and should have no spaces (ex. joesmith). The Security Questions are meant to prompt you if you forget your password. Make sure that you complete all required fields. When you’ve finished, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page.
6. You should now be registered on the website. If you have any problems registering or logging in to GuidanceResources Online, email Member Services at memberservices [at] compsych [dot] com.