Mental health matters
Awareness week promotes keeping your mind healthy, just like your body
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am
Keep the conversation going:
Using the hashtag #care4u, follow and participate in the daily activities:
Wednesday: Hats on for Mental Health
Thursday: Family hour
Friday: share how you care
Alberta Health Services
Follow the @AHS_behealthy Twitter account, #AHSMentalHealthWeek or AHS on Facebook for daily advice.
Wednesday: Be yourself
Friday: Give gratitude
Saturday: Get your groove on
Sunday: Do something good
Canadian Mental Health Association
Are you fine (saying you're fine and you are) or #phine (saying you're fine when you are not)?
Tweet your answer.
Mental Health Commision of Canada
Follow #308conversations, a suicide prevention initiative amongst members of parliament
Many of us try to eat right and exercise to take care of our bodies, but too often we don’t take the same strides to keep our minds healthy, say experts.
“We recognize people who put a lot of effort in keeping their physical bodies healthy,” remarked David Rust, director of community partnerships with the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities.
“Some of the same principals apply to mental health and are really important for young people to invest in.”
May 5 to 11 is Mental Health Awareness Week across Canada.
Safe and Caring Schools is running a campaign called “Mental Health Matters” to initiate conversations about positive mental health amongst students, adults that work with them, as well as parents.
Each day of the week has an assigned activity, such as “Family Hour” on Thursday.
“Family hour is our play on earth hour,” said Marnie Pearce, PhD, executive director of the society. “Research says that families that spend dinner time together in conversation create a big impact on the health of young people and adults.”
“A child doesn’t have to be in crisis to learn how to handle stress, time management or how to maintain a healthy relationship,” added Rust.
The activities also aim to build capacity in adults to identify, understand and manage mental illness. Positive mental health has a lot to do with developing healthy relationships, said Pearce.
“The most important thing you can do is to tell children that you care about them – you hear them, you see them, you are listening to them. Having a caring adult in a child’s life is actually one of the strongest things you can do to build resiliency.”
Many of the activities utilize social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – to connect with children and teens.
“Children and youth are so active on social media, this makes it easy and enticing for them to get involved,” said Rust, adding that the more we talk about mental illness and mental health, the more the stigma will be reduced.
“There is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. Twenty per cent of us will have a diagnosable mental health issue in our lifetime,” he added.
There are ways people can work on positive mental health every day, said Pearce. Going for a walk, reading, meditating, spending time with friends, having dinner with family, are just a handful of things you can do.
It is important to keep the mental health conversation going even after Mental Health Awareness Week, said Pearce.
“What are we doing to make it better for everyone, not just this week but every day?”