The letters sent to 'Dear Professional' are placed into the category that best fits with the letter content. While there may be some crossover, each letter is placed only once. Sometimes an answer is here for you and sometimes you will be able to relate to another family member or friend. Please send a link to those people and share what could be helpful for them on their own path.





Emotional / Mental

Medical / Physical



Sexual Harassment at Work

Dear Professional;

I am a female 24 years old and I am being sexually harassed at work. I don’t know what to do. I have never been a strong or assertive person and have been told many times that I am like a mouse. It is hard for me to stand up for myself even in this regard. What should I do?

Signed: Mouse from Vancouver

Dear Mouse;

Some people have a hard time reporting a sexual harassment offence in the workplace. Even if there is a policy about it not only is there a concern as to how well that policy is enforced, the victim can be concerned they may loose their job, people will look at them differently, they may feel ashamed, and so on. Every person has a right to feel safe and not be sexually harassed or bullied.

In many states and provinces employers have a legal duty to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. They must make sure they have safe environments that respect human rights. It is not acceptable for an employer to ignore sexual harassment, whether or not a formal complaint is made.

It is paramount that you do something about it. First check if there is such a policy in place at work. You can also talk to your union rep, employee council rep, company nurse, or someone in management you feel safe to approach. 

To find out more about what you can do to prevent and address sexual and gender-based harassment contact the Human Rights Commission in your area.

In Love and Light, Darlene DeStefano, PhD



Grief and Social Isolation

Dear Professional;

It has been more than 5 years since I lost my partner of 24 years. I am so lonely. Sometimes I still cry. She was my confidant, my lover, my friend. We did everything together and now that she is gone there is nothing, nothing. I feel dead. I do not want to go to counselling, take pills, or join a grief group. What can I do to feel better, to feel alive again?

Signed: Lost and Lonely from Kingston

Dear Lost and Lonely;

We all go through hard times, and we do so at many times throughout our lives. During times of hardship we may keep to ourselves more, shut other people out, or perhaps even withdraw from what we enjoy most. However, it is during these times that we need people the most. Whether it is someone to cry with, laugh with, talk to, or just sit with. Being social, does benefit our lives.

It seems we often overlook the importance of being around people. There are many health benefits to being social. It is a fact that social isolation is associated with poor health. A study conducted in 2003 found in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine claims that people who are socially isolated possess a less efficient system to repair and maintain physiological functioning.

Being around family and friends can actually help reduce stress. Laughter is proven to do good things for your body, so laugh with your friends, force yourself to laugh alone, join a laughter yoga group. Laughing acts as a powerful stress reducer.

Those who are socially isolated are more prone to loneliness and to depression. But loneliness slips away when you get out in your community and become active again.

I highly recommend you to join a laughter yoga group, learn Tai Chi, volunteer in your community - but get out and socialize. It will be hard at first but your wife would not have wanted you to withdraw from life, just as if it was the other way around you would not have wanted her to do what you are doing - or rather, not doing.

As hard as it is, be ever so grateful for the time you spent together, enjoy the memories. But now it is time for you to start a new chapter in your life. Give yourself permission. Go out and give your time, energy, and kindness to others. In making someone else'’s day brighter, you will eventually make your own brighter. Learn something new, make new friends. The grief will lessen, the memories are forever. A chapter of your life begins.

In Love and Light, Darlene DeStefano, PhD