We all want to live happy, healthy lives, but we cannot truly be happy or healthy unless we ensure that our mental health is also intact. Staying mentally healthy is hard work and requires effort, but you will benefit from the rewards. That is why this week, May 1st to May 7th, the Canadian Mental Health Association is asking all Canadians to #GetLoud by speaking out about mental health on social media.
Getting loud about mental health means fighting the discrimination and stigma that unfortunately comes with mental illness. By using your voice to discuss mental health, you are helping to build support for those as well as raise awareness, helping individuals better understand how mental illness can affect one’s daily life.
It is not uncommon for individuals to ignore their mental health, but it is important to give your mental health the time and attention that it deserves, just as you would any other disease or illness, and is nothing anyone should be ashamed of. Mental health has a huge impact on your emotional, psychological and social well-being, and can affect how you think and act – including productivity in work or school, how you handle stressful situations, relate to others, as well as important decision-making. Mental illness can affect people of all ages and there are various factors that can contribute to it including biological factors such as genes and brain chemistry, family history of mental illness, and life experiences such as trauma or abuse.
Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, helps guide patients dealing with mental illness towards happier, healthier lives. This is usually done in combination with medication and referrals to mental health services, such as counselling. Dr. Ghahary also notes that it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, as this can help boost your mood.
It is important to know that help is out there. If you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness (overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm), you should first start by speaking with your primary care physician. It is also important to reach out to other individuals you trust like friends and family.
You can find more information by contacting your local CMHA branch by visiting http://cmha.ca.