“Mental Health” is just “Health”: World #MentalHealthDay2018

Title image courtesy campaignme.com

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. It is a time to check in with yourself, to be honest with yourself, and to ask yourself if there are things you need to do to take better care of your mental health. Mental illness is incredibly common in Canada: In any given year, 20% of people will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. However, due to fears and misrepresentation of what mental illness looks like, too few Canadians are open about the state of their mental health, often fearing public embarrassment and shame if they seek help. As a result, their illness goes untreated, and thousands of people suffer needlessly every year. Here are some more facts about mental illness in Canada:

  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
  • Canadians in the lowest income group are 3 to 4 times more likely than those in the highest income group to report poor to fair mental health.
  • 57% of Canadians believe that the stigma associated with mental illness has been reduced compared to five years ago.
  • 81% are more aware of mental health issues compared to five years ago.
  • 40% of respondents to a 2016 survey agreed they have experienced feelings of anxiety or depression but never sought medical help for it.

You should take your mental health as seriously as you take your physical health. If you or a loved one has been experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, addiction, or other conditions, know that you are not alone, that you are experiencing a common and treatable condition, and that you have access to a variety of mental health services to help you through your difficult time, including healthcare professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and counselors, medication, support groups, and other forms of treatment.

You may want to seek help if you experience even one of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Trouble feeling emotions
  • Avoiding trauma reminders
  • Not getting joy from the same activities you usually do
  • Avoiding leaving your home or being unable to change your routine
  • Repetitive behaviours such as counting or repeating steps or motions

If you are a permanent resident, refugee, or low-income Canadian citizen currently or previously attending classes at the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society and you think you might be experiencing mental illness, including symptoms similar to the ones above, know that you can seek help.

CIES’ ReNEW program provides access to emotional support and professional counselling services. Professional counsellors can provide life-changing strength and support for their clients, in addition to complete confidentiality. It is against the law for your information to be shared with anyone other than your counselor or your family doctor, and you will remain completely anonymous.

If you would like to meet with a counselor, visit either our Whitehorn NE or Forest Lawn SE locations between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. To schedule an appointment in advance, call 403-291-0002.

This article was compiled with statistics from The Canadian Mental Health Association Calgary, the Canadian Association for Mental Health, and The Ranch.