October 10, 2021
Let’s not kid ourselves. The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard. It has disrupted our daily routines, made it impossible, at times, for families and friends to get together, and it has instilled a general sense of worry and anxiety in many of us. Quite simply, the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health, with some faring better than others. On World Mental Health Day, this October 10, 2021, let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves and with others. Let’s learn new strategies for coping. And let’s eliminate the stigma that comes with managing the struggles of mental health.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
It is important that we practice being compassionate to others during these trying times. Listen to others without judgment, encourage those around you, and be patient. The WHO (World Health Organization) notes that having support from those around us, such as family and friends, actually helps people suffering from depression recover faster.
Also, be sure to be kind to yourself. Try to find ways to relax, such as practising mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. Make sure you are taking time for yourself to do things that you can enjoy safely. And be sure you are eating well-balanced meals and getting enough sleep. The library has many collection items to help you support this.
- The RC 440 section in the library is where you will find books and resources about mental health
- For mindfulness, look in the BF 637 area of the stacks for helpful materials
- Want to learn yoga? Look for resources in the RA 781 area of the library collection
- Materials about meditation techniques can be found in a variety of areas, including the BF, BL and curriculum sections
Learn Strategies for Coping
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, there are many ways to help you cope. Exercising regularly helps you to feel good and maintain your health. Taking deep breaths and using a counting method (counting to 10 slowly, and repeating) can be incredibly useful during moments where you feel overwhelmed or panicked. Keep your sense of humor about you and try to sustain a positive attitude. Do your best, and accept that you cannot control everything. Your best will vary day to day, and week to week, because from one moment to the next, you are never the same. Talk to a friend or family member about your struggles, and let them know how they can help you. Also, pay attention to yourself, and learn what triggers your anxiety. Knowing this will help you to manage stress and cope with your day to day challenges.
- Want to learn how to cook healthier meals? Check out the many cookbooks the library has to offer in the TX section of the collection
- Need techniques for getting better sleep? No problem, the library carries many items about this in the QP area of the stacks
- Would you like to learn more about anxiety and managing it? The RC 531 section of the library collection has many useful resources about this
Mental Health and Counselling for Students at MHC
Students at MHC have access to free counselling services. If you need to speak to someone, please visit: https://www.mhc.ab.ca/Services/CounsellingAndCare/StudentCounselling to make an appointment.
Drop-in counselling sessions are offered on Wednesdays. Appointments are available all day (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.), first come first served, and must be booked that day by calling advising at 403.529.3819 or visiting the advising desk starting at 8 a.m.
Many Canada-Wide Services Are Also Available
- If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital. If you need emotional support, help is available.
- If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (24/7).
- Kids Help Phone: Call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868. Available 24 hours a day to Canadians aged 5 to 29 who want confidential and anonymous care from trained responders.
- Hope for Wellness Help Line: Call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or connect to the online Hope for Wellness chat. This service is available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally sensitive help line counsellors can help if you want to talk or are distressed. Telephone and online counselling are available in English and French. On request, telephone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
Help Eliminate the Stigma
On World Mental Health Day, this October 10, 2021, let’s all help to reduce the stigma attached to struggles with mental health. Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. We can all do this in a number of ways:
- Talk openly about mental health
- Educate yourself and others
- Be conscious of language
- Encourage equality between physical and mental health
- Show compassion for those who struggle with mental health
- Choose empowerment over shame
- Be honest about treatment
- Let the media know when they are being stigmatizing
- Don’t harbor self-stigma
All of us need to raise our voices against stigma. Every day, in every possible way, we need to stand up to stigma and support one another, during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness, Healthline & Anxiety and Depression Association of America