October 10 marks World Mental Health Day, as recognized by the World Health Organization and observed by people around the globe. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians personally experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year.
What You Should Know
- Mental health is just as important as physical health.
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time—either through their own experience, or that of a family member, friend or colleague.
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels and cultures.
- Mental illnesses are caused by a complex combination of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors. They are not a sign of weakness.
- When it comes to mental illness, youth is a critical period: most people living with a mental illness see their symptoms begin before age 18.
- Stigma and discrimination attached to mental illnesses and substance use problems present a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to access to employment, housing and other basic necessities. Stigma both creates and deepens social marginalization.
- The symptoms of mental illnesses can be treated and very often managed effectively. With the right support, people with mental illnesses can thrive.
Remember that you are not alone—mental health affects everyone.
What You Can Do
Be kind to yourself and others. Take a walk, take a break, do a self check-in, read a book and/or phone a friend. Remember to be considerate to others because you never know what someone else might be going through.
Learn more. Seek resources from reputable organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association (including their Alberta Division), the World Health Organization and Alberta Health Services. Know the common signs and symptoms of poor mental health, so you can recognize them should you see them in yourself or others, and seek out help if necessary.
Help out. Share what you've learned about the importance of mental health—this can aid in reducing stigma. If you know someone who may be struggling, make it clear that you want to help, listen without judgement and offer support, while being mindful that trying to do too much can be stressful, both for them and for you. Learn where and when to access professional help.
Where You Can Find Help
Parkland School Division has compiled a list of crisis hotlines and community resources available to individuals and families in need living in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Parkland County. Many of these resources are free to access and geared toward those seeking help with mental health concerns.