If someone has a cold, we offer them chicken soup, hot beverages and time to rest. If someone breaks a bone, we go to the doctor to have it set. If someone experiences a life-threatening illness, we offer prayers and support as they navigate through doctor’s visits and treatments. Over the years, we have become more in tune with our bodies and how to care for them. Yet, we still struggle with understanding and empathy when we are confronted with mental illness.
What is it?
According to the Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Youth Perspective, “Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which you can realize your own potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and make a contribution to your community…There is no single cause of any mental health issue. Whether a mild mental health problem or a severe mental illness, mental health issues are the result of a complex mix of social, economic, psychological, biological, and genetic factors.” (p.4)
Why is it important to reflect on mental health?
- More than two thirds of young adults living with a mental problem or illness say their symptoms first appeared when they were children.
- One in five Canadians live with mental health problems, mental illnesses or addiction.
- Most people with mental health problems or illnesses experience stigma compounding the problem.
- As with significant physical illness, mental health issues impact relationships within and beyond families.
What can families do?
For 67 years, Canadians have rallied around the Canadian Mental Health Awareness (CMHA) Mental Health Week. This week provides an opportunity for education, building awareness and understanding that mental health is something we all need to address. We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.
Watch for opportunities through social media and local communities to support Mental Health Awareness throughout the week of May 7-13, 2018. In Essex, John Postons M.S.W. (Postons Counselling & Therapy) and Jodie Matte (Art Space Essex), will be offering a free session to provide strategies and support for those who care for someone with a mental illness at the Essex County Library, Essex Branch, Wednesday, May 16th, from 6:30-8:00pm.
Watch for more posts on our Facebook page about mental health and our families. We will also feature Thrive! Dinners that will focus on mental health issues in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information.
Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today. Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/