It’s Mental Health Week – and Everyone Should Care

It’s Mental Health Week in Canada. 

And you really should care.

Not only does mental illness affect one in five Canadians at some point in their life, mental health awareness and action isn’t restricted to serious mental disorders. It can come down to good, old-fashioned stress – and most of us young professionals could use a little stress relief.
According to the Psychology Foundation of Canada, nearly one quarter (22.7 per cent) of Canadians aged 15 and older report that most days were “quite a bit or extremely” stressful, and 77 per cent of Canadians say they have one sort of excessive stress. 

The thing is, stress is normal – sometimes even good for us. But if it’s not effectively managed right now, it could build up and lead to bigger problems later on, negatively impacting your health both physically and mentally. 

There’s only so much we can take before our stress management system goes on overload mode. We mean, we’re only human. 

That’s why the Psychology Foundation of Canada has introduced Stress Strategies as an innovative, confidential online coaching tool that helps Canadians identify and explore the source of their stress and develop their own customized plans for managing it. 

It couldn’t be easier to use. 

First, you pick a source of stress (out of 12, plus one for “other”) that you’d like to manage better, and they will provide research-based coping strategies with problem-solving steps to decide what strategies work. It also features real life stories on how others got their stress under control. 

Once you’ve completed the exercise, you can save the plan to revisit, or print it as a blueprint. 

For many people, however, mental health issues do beyond acute levels of every day stresses. Half a million Canadians miss work each day due to a mental health related factor. Sometimes, it’s too much to take. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 15-34 in Canada. 

When it comes to young professionals, most have become masters of creating lives we like to be perceived as leading in attempt to “fake it until we make it.” This, of course, is facilitated via social media. 
The suicide of 28-year-old Melissa Krisman sent shockwaves through Toronto nearly five years ago when she took her own life just days after posting stunning, smiling pictures and positive status updates on social media. Her death served as a chilling reminder that there is no typical “face” of depression or suicide. 

Like cancer, depression doesn’t discriminate. 

Though the stigma surrounding mental health issues is definitely on its way to being squashed, many young professionals still suffer in silence. 

Thankfully (and finally) there’s a growing dialogue surrounding mental health awareness in Canada, facilitated by campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk and the “coming out” of many prominent figures who have suffered serious mental health issues. 

These include Olympian Clara Hughes (who is front and centre of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign), Howie Mandel, and TSN’s Michael Lansberg.  

Meanwhile, some of Hollywood’s most famous faces have also been vocal with their struggles with mental illness. 

We told you it doesn’t discriminate.


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