Mental Health and Wellness

Happy New Month! 

MAY is one of my favourite months of the year; mostly because it brings an end to winter, and gets us prepared for the most wonderful time of the year, SUMMER!  

May is also the month when Canada celebrates Mental Health Week. Every May for the last 71 years, the Canadian Mental Health Association has brought national awareness to; mental health, mental illness, and wellness.

We can all agree that our mental health is important at every stage of life! But what exactly is mental health?  According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health includes our psychological, emotional and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, behave, make decisions, deal with stress, and relate to others. Mental health professionals tell us that everyone has mental health, and we will all experience challenges regarding our mental well-being, but not everyone will experience a mental illness. 

Let’s be honest! Sometimes we feel under the weather, not in the mood to see friends, would prefer to scroll through social media for hours, rather than go outside for a 30 minute walk, would put-off replying to an important phone call or email, enjoys having the whole cup of ice cream rather than a nice small bowl, can’t wait for the work or school day to end, I can go on, and on, and on. Does that mean our mental well-being is at risk? 

Health professionals believe that challenges with mental well-being can affect people in different ways. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association “in a given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness”. The CMHA also says that “mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures, however, systemic inequalities such as racism, poverty, homelessness, discrimination colonial and gender-based violence, among others, can worsen mental heatlh. We should all work together to change this. 

According to the CMHA, there are many factors that may contribute to mental health challenges, including: 

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry 
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems 

Mental health professionals divide mental illnesses into several different groups based on signs or symptoms.

Common groups of mental illness

  • Anxiety disorders 
  • Mood disorders 
  • Eating disorders
  • Psychotic disorders 
  • Personality disorders 
  • Childhood disorders 
  • Dementia 

In honour of CMHA Mental Health Week (May 2-8, 2022) we are encouraged to show empathy and #GetReal about how to help. If you, or a loved one, or a friend might be experiencing mental health challenges, please know that you are not alone. You can find help and support at your local Canadian Mental Health Association. Find your local CMHA here

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