(From: Kelly Dunsmore Manager, Employee Wellness & Safety Calgary Catholic School District)
This year for Mental Health Week, we're asking you to #GetLoud about what mental health really is. Every year, CMHA asks Canadians to #GetLoud about mental health.
For the past 66 years, Mental Health Week has taken the form of a mental illness awareness week. We got loud about breaking the stigma, and we got loud about our experiences with mental illnesses. But we didn't #GetLoud about the fact that all Canadians have mental health.
Mental Health Week is not only about the 1 in 5 Canadians who experience mental health issues. It's about the 5 in 5.
5 in 5 of us have mental health. We all have a state of mental health. We all have it, so why don't we all talk about it?
It's about feeling good about yourself and reaching your potential. It's about really thriving in life. It's about the ups and the downs. It's also about those overwhelming days when you need to take a few moments to breathe. And it's about the mental illnesses that can affect any one of us.
If you're ready to #GetLoud, check out www.mentalhealthweek.ca to see what you can do to spread the word. Let's #GetLoud about what mental health really is.
When was the last time YOU checked in on YOUR mental health?
There are many schools of thought on mental health. So, the Canadian Mental Health Association, waded into everything from western psychology to Indigenous knowledge, and here is what they found: when they look at various descriptions of mental health, the overlaps are striking. They found that, while feeling well means different things to different people, some things might actually apply to all of us and in order to thrive, we all need..
- a good sense of self
They have condensed that knowledge into an informal list that you can use to check your own mental health. (You can find the sources they consulted at the bottom of following link:
It's not a scientific tool, or a way to diagnose yourself. It's just one way to check in with yourself about your mental health, and maybe guide you on how to support and improve it.
Read each statement, and consider whether you "Agree" or "Disagree" with it.
Your sense of self
Your purpose and sense of meaning
- I feel confident about my own opinions, even if they're different from what other people think or believe.
- I think people respect me, but I can disagree with others and still feel ok about myself.
- I feel that I am the expert on my own life.
- I consider myself to be a good person·
- I deserve to feel well.
- I feel like I'm reaching my potential. ·
- I feel I am growing as a person. ·
- I challenge myself and my thoughts about the world ·
- I have a sense of purpose and meaning in my life. ·
- It is a better world with me in it. ·
- I am good at things that matter to me. ·
- I get something out of the things I do.
- I get along with others, and I feel good about my personal relationships and social interactions. ·
- I feel like I am part of something bigger than myself. ·
- I feel like I belong. ·
- I have people in my life to support me.
- What I do matters a lot to others
- I feel useful and productive ·
- I make the world a better place in my own way ·
- I am making a difference
Hope and enjoyment
- I am optimistic about my future.
- I feel good about myself
- I like and accept myself.
- I usually expect good things will happen.
- I enjoy life.
- Things are hard sometimes, but I think I deal pretty well.
- I know I can't control everything, but I take action where I can.
- If you knock me down, I get back up again.
Do you have Social Supports?
Social support is the physical and emotional comfort given to us by our family, friends, co-workers and others. It's knowing that we are part of a community of people who love and care for us, and value and think well of us. ·
Are there people in your life you can turn to when you just need someone to talk to? ·
Someone to help when your basement is flooded or you need someone to watch the kids? ·
Or maybe just someone you can call when something really great happens and you want to share the news? We all need people we can depend on during both the good times and the bad. Maintaining a healthy social support network is hard work and something that requires ongoing effort over time.
The Canadian Mental Health Association offers a Peer Support service that provides the opportunity for anyone – individual, family member or professional – looking for a connection with others, who is new to the mental health and/or addiction community, looking for information about a mental health diagnosis, or the chance to speak with someone with lived experience.
Contact their peers at 403-297-1402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find help, check out the following website: http://cmha.calgary.ab.ca/find-help/
Did you know….The CMHA has a “Recovery College” right here in Calgary? “Where real people with real experiences share what works”
Check out some of the course they have to offer by clicking on the following link: http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/courses/. There are specific courses for Individuals, Older Adults (50+), Language Supports, Family, Friends and Parents. Ranging from…
A Good Night’s Sleep - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/a-good-nights-sleep/
Food and Mood - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/food-and-mood/
Treat yourself Tuesday - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/treat-yourself-tuesdays/
Confront the Discomfort - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/confront-the-discomfort/
Finding your Balance - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/finding-your-balance/
Media and ME - http://www.recoverycollegecalgary.ca/product/media-and-me-2/
“Mental illness is NOT a choice, but RECOVERY is.”
How can I achieve Mental Health for Life?
RECOGNIZE YOUR EMOTIONS
- Activity: Identify and deal with your moods. Find out what makes you happy, sad, joyful or angry. What calms you down? Learn ways to deal with your moods. Share joyful news with a friend, and find support when you feel sad. Physical exercise can help you deal with your anger or anxiety. Keep a stack of your favorite funny cartoons, stories, or videos for times when you need to laugh. And don’t forget the power of music to lift you up or calm you down.
- Activity: Connect with yourself Set aside quiet, quality time to be totally alone. Try a breathing exercise: count your breaths from one to four, and then start at one again. Or do something you love to do, like dancing, going to a baseball game, building a bird house, going for a hike—whatever works for you!
BUILD A HEALTHY SELF-ESTEEM
- Activity: Build confidence Take a good look at your good points. What do you do best? Where are your skills and interest areas? How would a friend describe you? Now, look at your weak points. What do you have difficulty doing? What makes you feel frustrated? Now, which list was easier to write? Remember that all of us have our positive and negative sides. We build confidence by developing our weaker areas and regularly reminding ourselves of the things we’re comfortable with and proud of.
- Activity: Be a volunteer. Read to children at your local library, visit people in a hospital or care facility, serve on a committee or board of your favorite charity, clean up your favorite park or beach, or simply help a neighbor.
BUILD POSITIVE SUPPORT NETWORKS
- Activity: Make time Make time just to be with important people in your life. Make time for simply having fun and enjoying each other’s company, and time for serious conversations.
- Activity: Build your own toolkit Set aside time to think about the resiliency tools you already have. This might include skills like structured problem-solving or people who can help you during difficult situations. Remember to include strategies that have worked for you in the past. Keep your list on hand and use it as a reminder when you need help. It’s also a good way to see where you might want to build new skills or supports.
Do you need more help?
- Contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about the support and resources available to you!