It’s time to #GetLoud about Mental Health.
Every May for the last 67 years, Canadian workplaces, schools and communities have come together for mental health week. Since 1951, CMHA Mental Health Week has been working to raise awareness and funds to help end the stigma associated with mental illness.
CMHA Mental Health Week has almost become synonymous with the #GetLoud campaign. Canadians have gotten loud in their communities, workplaces and on social media. Municipalities and provinces have decorated in green to celebrate the week. But in 2018, CMHA Mental Health Week and the #GetLoud campaign is taking an even deeper dive in to mental health and focusing on what mental health really is.
So here are 5 ways you can #GetLoud for Mental Health:
Everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health. And just like anyone can be diagnosed with a physical illness, anyone can also be diagnosed with a mental health issue. From the CMHA website: “Mental health is not just the absence of mental illness”. Mental health is your state of being – it’s your stress level, your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself and others. Acknowledging that everyone has mental health and that mental health is just as important as physical health is one of the most important ways you can #GetLoud.
There is a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding mental illness, especially in pop culture and the media. A good way to #GetLoud for mental health is to simply learn about it. Look outside pop culture and sensationalist headlines and learn what an individual mental health issue actually is. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and learn about what it means to live the day-to-day life of a person experiencing mental illness. Ask respectful questions and listen to their answers.
3. Start small.
It can be hard to #GetLoud when you’re concerned about a friend or family member. But remember, you don’t have to think big or go straight to grand gestures and huge donations. You can start as small as you feel comfortable with. If you’re uncertain, you don’t even have to ask about the individual’s mental health. Even a simple text or call to say “Hi!” or “How are you doing?” can mean the world to someone struggling with a mental illness.
It feels good to give. Whether you’re giving in the form of donations, love, time, volunteering or a simple smile, giving makes us feel good. It can also increase a sense of belonging and community which can help keep us mentally healthy. But don’t forget to give back to yourself as well. Set aside time for yourself and do the things that help your mind and body recharge. It’s easier to work up the goodwill and energy to give to others when you’re mentally recharged after giving yourself some self-care.
5. Ask for help.
If you are struggling with an already diagnosed mental illness, or feel like you might have a mental illness, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to struggle alone. There is a wealth of resources in Ontario available to you. Reach out to your family doctor; they can provide you with information on services in your area. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has centres across Toronto and the GTA. The Canadian Mental Health Association has branches and services providing affordable mental healthcare all over the province. Connex Ontario also provides a mental health helpline (1-866-531-2600).
While these are all good ways you can #GetLoud for Mental Health Week, they are important to keep in mind all year round. For 1 in 5 Canadians, mental illness is a constant presence in their life. As this week comes to a close, let’s keep the conversation going to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness once and for all.
For more mental health resources and additional information on creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, click here. If you are in crisis, please reach out to Connex Ontario (1-866-531-2600), Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) or call 911.