Today is World Mental Health Day. Let’s all take a minute to celebrate and raise awareness of mental health.
Mental health is for everyone. It’s more than just the absence of mental illness or being happy all the time. It’s about feeling good about who you are, having balance in your life, and managing life’s highs and lows. We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health.
Mental health among students
In 2017, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) conducted a major survey of Ontario students in grades 7 through 12. The statistics on mental health were eye-opening:
- 1 in 4 students visited a professional for a mental health issue.
- 5% of secondary school students were prescribed a medication for anxiety, depression, or both.
- About 3% of all students sought help by calling a telephone counselling helpline or over the internet.
- Nearly one-third of students said they wanted to talk to someone about their mental health but didn’t know where to turn.
- Almost 4 in 10 said they rarely or never talk to their parents about their problems or feelings.
8 things you can do right now for your mental health
- Get active. Regular physical activity helps to fight depression, decrease anxiety, and improve your overall mood. You don’t have to lift weights or run marathons. Go for a walk. Ride your bike around the block. Take the stairs. Anything that gets you up and moving.
- Eat well. They say you are what you eat, but there is an emerging link between food and mental health. Your body and brain need a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well.
- Give your mind a break. It’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Remember to give your brain a break. Have you ever tried meditating or explored mindfulness?
- Value yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. A certain amount of self-awareness can be positive and motivating, but try to avoid self-criticism. Go easy on yourself.
- Give yourself. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. Reach out to your local food bank or assisted living centre. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need.
- Write down something you are grateful for. Gratitude has been clearly linked with improved well-being and mental health. Try keeping a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list.
- Talk about your feelings. It’s not always easy to do, but talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
- Laugh. Hang out with your hilarious friend. Google “funny cat videos.” Go watch Friends before it disappears from Netflix forever. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
VHS works with Kids Help Phone to support our students. If you need to talk to someone, you can reach out anonymously.
No matter what you want to talk about, a professional Kids Help Phone counsellor will listen. No judgment, totally private, 24/7 support.
- Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Free Texting Service: Text CONNECT to 686868
- Live Chat: www.kidshelpphone.ca (select “Chat” at bottom of screen)
- Always There App: available for iOS or Android, in English and French
Celebrate and promote
We can all benefit from celebrating, promoting, and acknowledging the role that good mental health plays in living a full and meaningful life. Having good mental health means being supported in the places you live, work, play, and learn.
Let’s work together to end the stigma around mental illness. Here’s to good mental health for all.