“Social connection plays a positive and beneficial role in a person's mental health and well-being. Social isolation of healthy people can eventually result in their mental and psychical health deteriorating.”
— Scott McKeen, former City of Edmonton Councillor
Mental health is defined as the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face; It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.
(Canadian Institute for Health Information, Improving the Health of Canadians: Exploring Positive Mental Health (Ottawa: CIHI 2009))
Mental Health is an important part of how we think and feel about ourselves and the people around us. It also impacts how we interpret the things that are happening around us. It affects how we learn, communicate and how we form, sustain or end relationships. It influences how we deal with change in our lives.
Lack of understanding and stigma surrounding mental health problems can present barriers to open conversations, seeking help, diagnosis, treatment and community acceptance.
In a 2006 survey, 54% of respondents, who self identified as having experienced a mental health problem, felt embarrassed about their mental health problems and reported facing discrimination because of those problems.
(Government of Canada. (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Ottawa (ON): Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada)
Talking about mental health and sharing a story of lived experience is one of the best ways to end the stigma surrounding mental health. By educating yourself, you can help identify early signs of mental health concerns.
Did You Know?
- In Canada, 1 person in 5 will experience some problems with their mental health in the course of a year (Government of Canada. (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Ottawa (ON): Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada)
- In Canada, 1 person in 3 will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. (Slomp, M., Bland, R.C.; Patterson, S. & Saul, L. (2007 May). Three year treated prevalence rate for mental health diagnoses Poster Presentation at the 11th International Congress of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Goteburg, Sweden.)
Tips for Self-care
- Get enough sleep
- Go for a walk
- Eat well
- Know and respect your limits
- Be aware of changes in your behaviours, moods and attitude