By Miranda Massie on May 4, 2017
If someone had told me a few years ago that I would eventually be writing articles about sex for work, I probably wouldn’t have believed them! It was a common belief at the time (and for many still is), that it was okay to talk about certain aspects of health at work, but sex was definitely not one of them.
Personally, I don’t see how I can honestly and authentically do my job without acknowledging all of the facets of wellbeing that contribute to overall health. I may be biased by the fact that I have a background as a sexual health educator, but I like to dedicate at least one editorial a year to my often underrated, overlooked and sometimes stigmatized friend: sexual health. (Bonus: I get to come up with catchy, tongue-in-cheek titles!)
My top tips for getting re-acquainted with your sexual health
If you don’t use it, you might lose it.
As comical as it sounds, when it comes to sexual health, research says it’s true. Regular use and care for our reproductive parts and sexual organs helps to keep them, and their owners, healthy. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of keeping sexually active.
Parents: It’s going to be ok!
When you’re a parent, talking about sexual health with your kids can add another layer to a tricky topic, one that can provoke both anxiety and stress. For any parents or guardians out there looking for tips on how to talk about this topic with your kids, consider registering for our upcoming workshop:
Find study buddies
There’s a lot of research going on at UBC that relates to sexual health. One example is the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory. Consider signing up to take part in a study – the topics are varied and there are a range of participation options (online, in person, solo, with a partner, etc.). These are often wonderful opportunities to contribute to learning and research while discovering new things about yourself and your sexual health.
Avoid Dr. Google
When it comes to a topic like sexual health, my advice is avoid Google. Not only is there a lot of misinformation on the Internet, but search results can often be unreliable. Learn more about the dangers of Dr. Google here and see the suggestions below for more accurate online sources.
Seek out the right sources
As an alternative to Google, I recommend checking out the following resources for unbiased, non-judgmental sexual health information:
- SexandU: Rated one of the top 10 health websites in Canada, this site is run by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
- Options for Sexual Health: Educational resources for all ages and services available for free to all residents of BC.
- Scarleteen:Don’t be fooled by the teen/20’s label: This site has accessible information and advice for all ages.
- Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights:Like the World Health Organization, but for sexual health in Canada. Policy, research, advocacy and information.
- Experiencing a non-consensual or unwanted sexual experience can have negative impacts on your mental health and physical health and wellbeing. If you need to speak with someone, you can contact your EFAP at 1-800-361-5676 or learn about sexual assault resources at UBC. Information related to UBC’s new Policy on Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct will be disseminated in the coming weeks.
Sexual health is a broad and diverse realm of our wellbeing that can include intimacy, relationships, sexuality, gender, safety, reproduction and personal values. This month, I encourage you to have fun exploring what sexual health means to you.
All my best,
By Colin Hearne on May 6, 2014
The internet can be a valuable and convenient way to find all kinds of desired information, particularly when our health is the topic of interest. In fact, a recent survey as part of Pew’s Internet & American Life Project found that of the 81% of adults in the United States who use the internet 72% go online for health information, while a startling 35% admitted using Google, Bing and Yahoo to specifically try and diagnose an illness.
With this in mind, it is important to remember that in our connected society, it’s easy to overestimate our own internet savviness. However, very few of us are as skilled in researching the soundest health information online as we think. In order to prevent putting ourselves selves at risk from inaccurate information let’s look at how we can separate the sublime from the ridiculous and safely add the internet to our health toolbox.
Finding reliable health information online
The key to critically analyzing any resource is simply to question. A resource developed by the Bowmont Medical Clinic in Alberta, Finding Reliable Health Information on the Internet, suggests the following six to ask, and directives to use, when deciding whether you can trust health information you find online.
1. Where does the information come from?
The website should clearly show which organization, company or person is responsible for the information. If a person started the site, the website shows whether a company or organization is helping to pay for it. This is known as sponsoring a website. A website’s address can give you some of this information.
- .gov – The government owns or sponsors this website.
- .edu – A public or private school owns or sponsors this website.
- .org – A non-profit organization owns or sponsors this website.
- .com – A business owns or sponsors this website
- .ca – the website is owned by a Canadian entity. More research is required to determine who owns that website.
2. What is the purpose of the website?
The purpose of the website should be easy to find. Usually it is found on the page called “About this Site”. If the website has advertisements or is sponsored, these should be separate from the health information.
3. Is the information reviewed before it is posted to the website?
The site should include information about the person or people who review the health information before it is posted on the website. Some sites may direct you to other websites for information on the same subject. Use these questions to review the linked sites as well.
4. How often is the information updated or reviewed?
Health information on the websites should be current, including recent research or news. The date that the information was updated or reviewed should be easy to find. This may be listed at the bottom of the page
5. Is it obvious how you can reach the sponsor?
Trustworthy websites will have contact information for you to use. They often have a toll-free telephone number, as well as email or mailing address where the sponsor and/or the authors of the information can be reached.
6. Does the website make claims that seem too good to be true? Are quick, miraculous cures promised?
Be careful of claims that any one remedy will cure a lot of different illnesses. Be skeptical of sensational writing or dramatic cures. Make sure you can find other websites with the same information. Don’t be fooled by a long list of links – any website can link to another, so no endorsement can be implied from a shared link. Take the “too good to be true” test: information that sounds unbelievable probably is unbelievable.
Helpful and Trustworthy Websites
With all the above in mind, here are some websites which are excellent resources and are known to have trusted health information.
- Health Canada – http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
- The Canadian Medical Journal – http://www.cmaj.ca/
- The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care – http://www.canadiantaskforce.ca/
- The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada – http://www.heartandstroke.com
- HealthLink BC – http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/
- UBC’s EFAP Provider www.homewoodhumansolutions.com
Your health is your wealth, treat it with the same respect you would when choosing to invest your life savings. If you have questions about health information you find on the internet, ask your healthcare provider about it. Website information should not be used to identify (diagnose) or treat any medical or mental health condition.
By Colin Hearne on May 6, 2014
Historically, Employee & Family Assistance Programs (EFAPs) have been associated with traditional counseling services. At UBC, we are fortunate to have access to Homewood Health (formerly Homewood Human Solutions) with a wide range of services, covering counselling to health and wellness support, as well as access to a comprehensive Health Library.
What is the EFAP Health Library?
The EFAP Health Library is a comprehensive library of articles and other resources written by qualified experts. It includes information designed to improve health and wellness, and assists individuals in improving their personal and work-life balance. Some popular categories are:
- Children, Parenting, and Families
- Financial Health
- Healthy Living and Self-Improvement
- Mental and Emotional Health
- Relationships and Social Connections
- Workplace Issues
Who can use the EFAP Health Library?
All UBC staff, faculty, and their eligible dependents enrolled in UBC’s EFAP can access the Health Library.
Accessing the EFAP Health Library
Accessing the Health Library is easy: Visit the Homewood Health website and login. Enter University of British Columbia as your employer, register some basic details, and you will automatically gain access to the members-only Health Library.
The information you share with UBC’s EFAP provider is confidential to Homewood Health, and will never be shared with UBC. The University is not told the identity of those using EFAP services, including online services.
Want to know more?
For more information on your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), visit our website at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/benefits/efap. If you would like to book a presentation for your unit to review the free EFAP services available for UBC staff and faculty, contact Colin Hearne, EFAP Assistant, at 604-827-3047 or email@example.com.
Remember: if you ever feel overwhelmed or stressed out by the challenges you face in life, you can easily access counselling (face-to- face, over the phone, or online) from Homewood Human Solutions. Visit www.homewoodhumansolutions.com or call 1-800-663-1142.
Posted in Benefits Spotlight, Colin Hearne, EFAP, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Health | Tagged EFAP, health information, health library, homewood Health, Homewood Human Solutions | Leave a response