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Supporting Those We Love

January seems to be the month in which Canada talks the most about mental health. It could be tied to the fact that the long, cold, winter days across the country get to us. Bell is certainly playing a part in stimulating those conversations with their Let’s Talk Day campaign, this year on January 30th. Since 2010, their efforts to build awareness has inspired conversations across the country about mental health and we’re now talking about mental health more than ever.

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures. If you are not directly affected, you will most likely be indirectly affected through a family member, friend, or colleague.

If someone breaks a leg, you know how to help. You send a card, pick up some food, or you offer a ride or two. Somebody’s got a cold- you offer to make them soup and move the tissues closer to them, and you are being an awesome support! When you cannot see the illness, it can be very hard to know what to do to be a support.

In the case of a mental illness, it’s difficult to know how to feel about it. You can experience guilt, anxiety, stress, concern, disbelief, love, compassion, and much more. All these emotional responses are completely normal and understandable.

Most importantly, ensure you are taking care of yourself first. Then ask your loved one what they need from you.  

From the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, they recommend these tips below:Only 2 feet of snow? We got that. Oh and -45 degrees with wind chill and slippery roads? No problem.

  1. Accept your own feelings.
  2. Learn more about mental illness.
  3. Stay connected with others.
  4. Join a support group.
  5. Take time for yourself.
  6. Seek help for yourself, and/or your entire family.
  7. Develop coping strategies.

If you are looking for support, here are some options:

If you or a loved one is in crisis, call 911.

As we move into 2019, what are your coping strategies for stress? What is your plan to maintain or improve your mental health?

-Merissa

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