Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being, and relates to how we think, how we react to situations, how we interact socially, and how we make choices. As our mental health as adults can be impacted by events that happened to us when we were younger, it’s important to educate our youth about mental health and the importance of talking about these issues.
Let’s Talk About It
Stigma relating to mental health can be separated into two categories: social-stigma and self-stigma. Social-stigma is discriminatory behaviour and prejudicial attitudes towards individuals suffering with mental health, while self-stigma is the internalization of one’s own perceptions of discrimination. These forms of stigma can make you not want to talk about mental health issues you might have.
Several organizations are working to end the stigma around talking about mental health. For example, Bell puts on an event called Bell Let’s Talk Day every winter. This year, it falls on January 30th.
Bell Let’s Talk Day aims to create anti-stigma about mental health through research, workplace health, as well as care and access to better mental health in Canada through conversations about mental health and wellness. Their website offers a multitude of tools to start the conversation in your own community as well as finding out more about their initiative.
Everytime that a consumer uses different social media (including text messages, tweets that use #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Lets talk Instagram videos, using the Bell Lets Talk frame on Facebook and using the SnapChat Feature), Bell donates 5 cents to the campaign. Since its start in 2010, Bell Let’s Talk Day has raised $93,423,628.80 to put towards mental health awareness. The money raised is donated to countless organizations including local organizations such as The Bear Clan Patrol, The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, FortWhyte Alive, NorWest Co-op Community Health Inc, Resource Assistance for Youth, Inc. (RaY), Siloam Mission, and more!
- The Canadian Mental Health Society (CMHA) is a great Canadian resource for those dealing with mental health issues. Their website includes a list of phone numbers of people to reach out in crises and get medical advice from, and details existing mental health policies as well as initiatives that the CMHA is aiming to have implemented as policies.
- Recognizing that mental health should also be considered in a work environment, the CMHA also offers a short quiz where you can evaluate your own workplace balance!
- Crisis Services Canada gives the option to uses to either call, text or chat with someone when they are in crises.
- The Canadian Association for Suicide also has a list of suicide prevention lines that you can call or encourage others to call if needed.
- The Manitoba Government website has access to phone lines for those who are in crises as well as information on addictions, drug overdose and Mental health Crises and non-crises contacts.
- Klinic Manitoba’s website gives information about different types of counseling (such as individual or group sessions) and provides information on subjects like sexuality, dating violence, and healthcare for those in need.
- The CMHA has also created this helpful PDF with information on where to find help in Winnipeg.
- The Mental Health Education Resource Center has a list of self-help groups you can join if you are struggling with a certain mental illness.
- The Millennium, St. James-Assiniboia, St. Boniface and Harvey Smith Libraries in Winnipeg all have full-spectrum therapy lamps available for use if you struggle from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Institutions you may frequent, such as a school or workplace, may also offer specific resources.
- Many workplaces offer Employee and Family Assistant Programs (EFAP), which are voluntary, confidential short-term counseling services.
- Many universities have on campus centers for students to access: find out more info for the University Of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, and Red River College.
Recovery is a large part of working through mental health concerns. This video, created by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society (in partnership with the Provincial Recovery Champions Committee, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Manitoba Health, Seniors, and Active Living), seeks to enhance understanding of personal recovery and services that exist to aid in recovery in mental health. Spiritual healing and keeping physically active have also been found to aid with mental health.
Taking care of your mental health is very important. If you ever feel alone, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, someone you feel comfortable with, or use one of the resources listed above. Know that you are not alone. Check in with your loved ones and make sure they’re doing okay. Let’s keep conversations about mental health going all year long.