Mental health affects every Canadian.
Public Health Canada findings indicate that 1 in 3 of us will experience mental illness in our lifetime. So if we don’t, we’ll probably know someone who does.
Part of our mission at Dialogue is to help employees and their families get proactive about mental wellness. And since October 10th is World Mental Health Day, we wanted to address the importance of being aware and supportive of mental health issues.
Research shows that half a million Canadians miss work every year because of their mental health. And that’s pretty sobering when you consider that more than 90% of our country’s 4000 annual suicides involve a mental health problem or illness.
Awareness and support are critical for connecting the people we care about with the help that they need.
Mental health programs list “getting help early” as an important part of treating mental disorders. So here’s how you can recognize the signs of mental distress in family, friends, or colleagues:
- Significant mood changes
- Withdrawal from family, friends, or favourite activities
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Missing work or school more often
- New or increased alcohol or drug use
- Talk of being a burden, or being in unbearable pain
- Talk of, or having a plan for suicide
If you’ve noticed changes in someone you care about, let them know that you’re worried.
It’s not up to you to give medical advice. But you can be there to listen, share your own experiences, and provide practical help. Offer to find local services, schedule consultations, or go along to appointments.
You might not be able to prevent a mental health crisis, but you can be prepared for one if it happens to someone you know.
- Take action by helping them get in touch with their doctor or mental health provider.
- Contact their local crisis centre.
- Go with them to the nearest emergency room. Or call 911.
Remember: the Canadian Mental Health Association says mental health isn’t only about avoiding serious illness. It’s about taking steps toward new health goals.
Every one of us deals with the ongoing stress of balancing work with our health and relationships. So on this World Mental Health Day, and every day forward, I hope you’ll join us in celebrating the courage it takes to speak up and make changes.