May 4 to 10, 2020 marks Mental Health Week in Canada.
Hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) during the first full week in May, Mental Health Week is a valuable opportunity to remind of the crucial importance of protecting and promoting mental health.
In the midst of a pandemic, it has perhaps never been more challenging, nor more critical, to actively protect our mental health.
While it is essential that we be physically apart in order to flatten the pandemic curve, we know that with loneliness and social isolation comes increased risks for mental illness. It’s also important to note that “Research shows that loneliness is more keenly felt by people who belong to a visible minority, who are Indigenous, who have mobility challenges, and who are LGBTQ identifying.” (Source: CMHA)
With the awareness that social connection/inclusion are important protective factors for good mental health, our public health authorities moved quickly to remind us that physical distancing and social distancing are not the same. While we need to be physically distant from one another right now, it’s vitally important that we stay virtually close to one another. That means using remote means – picking up the phone or going online – to stay connected.
Fittingly, the CMHA’s 2020 Mental Health Week theme is “social connection” and its importance for mental health. This year’s campaign calls for us to #GetReal about how we feel. This Mental Health Week and beyond, let’s #GetReal with one another. Let’s reach out to each other. Let’s be honest about how we feel. Let’s be compassionate with ourselves and others.
A reminder that there are many resources available to you if you need help – see the summary graphic below. There are also many other means of protecting your mental health, including being physically active, eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and practicing mindfulness (focusing on the moment). The value of physical activity is a personal passion of mine for its tremendous power to protect mind and body. And as a dog lover, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also highlight the value of canine companionship. Visit mentalhealthweek.ca for additional resources.
And know that my (currently virtual) door is always open for you. Never hesitate to reach out.
Mental Health Resources
MSVU Counselling Services | firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-457-6567
Good2Talk NS Helpline for Postsecondary Students | 1-833-292-3698
Healthy Minds NS | healthymindsns.ca
Faculty & Staff
Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) — Shepell | workhealthlife.com or 1-844-880-9142
Human Resources intranet site | intranet.msvu.ca (log-in required)
Wellness Together Canada | ca.portal.gs
NS Mental Health Crisis Line | 1-888-429-8167
Kids Help Phone | 1-800-668-6868