World Mental Health Day 2021

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.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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
Image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay

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.
Photo by Lisa from Pexels

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

Time for Brew Monday! Get your tea steeping and your connection ready!

For those of you who have never heard of Blue Monday, it is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, occurring on the third Monday in January. What a lot of people don’t know about Blue Monday is that the man who coined the term, and did the research to narrow down this exact date, never intended for the day to become negative. It was actually identified with the intention to encourage people to take the time to find the positives in the “gloomiest day of the year” and remember that the beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to begin other things too; it’s an opportunity for change and fresh starts (Peat, 2018).

(Altman, 2018)

We all know 2020 was a weird year. And 2021 is off to an odd start too- but I promise I’m not here to tell you these are “unprecedented times.” You know they are, you’re living them! I AM here to tell you that just because things are strange right now, different from what we have come to expect out of our day-to-day, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the college experience of community… it just means we have an opportunity to get a bit creative in how we enjoy these experiences. And what better time to get creative in finding a little spot of happy than Blue Monday?

Since we can’t enjoy the fresh beginning of meeting new people around campus the way we could other years we are bringing it online with “Brew Monday”.

“Brew Monday” is a play on the term “Blue Monday”, which occurs on January 18th this year. It is a chance to connect MHC students with each other! And maybe an excuse to drink more tea/coffee… (haha- BREW Monday, get it?)

(Stokpic, 2014)

Sooooo… what exactly happens? On Monday, January 18, from 11 AM – 2 PM, virtual rooms will be set up via Blackboard Collaborate, each dedicated to a special interest or topic. All you need to do is find access to a computer or laptop with webcam and microphone capabilities where you can open Blackboard Collaborate. Then make your favourite tea or coffee, and come back here to the Chapter One Blog! A list of topics and meeting rooms will be posted and you can select your connection!

Together let’s make Blue Monday a little less blue 😊 and all about creating more connections! We hope to see you there! Find your connection points and times below!

JANUARY 18 @TOPICS & INTERESTS
11:00AM-NOONMature Student Experience And Parenting
NOON-12:30PMBaking! Because Who Doesn’t Love Food!
NOON-1:00PMCatching Up With All Things True Crime
NOON-1:00PMFinding New Worlds To Explore In Books And Movies
1:00PM-2:00PMDogs, Dogs, And More Dogs! Bring Your Dog!
1:00PM-2:00PMGet Lost In The Fun Of Board Games And Card Games
1:00PM-2:00PMPositivity, Focus, And Making Your Beveridge Work For YOU!

References

Altman, G. (2018, March 24). Time for Change. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/change-new-beginning-risk-road-3256330/

Peat, J. (2018, January 5). Man who coined the term ‘Blue Monday’ apologises for making January more depressing. Retrieved from Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/blue-monday-apology-depressing-january-misey-money-disposable-income-psychology-dr-cliff-arnall-a8143246.html

Stokpic. (2014, October 24). Woman Drinking Coffee. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-drinking-coffee-person-601568/

Mental Health Awareness Activities for Winter 2020 Semester

With a busy new semester, months of cold weather, and the stressors of daily life, you might find yourself struggling to cope with it all. This is normal, it happens. The Mental Health and Counselling department doesn’t want you to struggle alone. We’re here to talk to. If making an appointment to speak with a counsellor sounds a bit scary, or like too much of a commitment, that’s ok- we have other options to help you manage!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My personal goal as Mental Health Programmer at MHC, is to help each student feel connected, and like they are a part of a community. College can be a lonely place, and it can be hard to reach out. The activities that we offer aim to increase self-awareness, and build-up your support system. They are mostly drop-in, so there isn’t the pressure of committing your time each week (but please keep coming back if you enjoy it, we’d love to have you)!

 Please stop in to one of our groups, or to the counselling department if you find you are needing a little extra support. We have comfy couches, a fire place, TV, and free coffee/tea/hot chocolate!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

CBT Self-Help Drop In [Mondays / 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. / C225]
Students work independently on cognitive behavioural therapy work sheets, with counselling staff support. Topics include distorted thinking, anger, communication, healthy relationships, and more. This drop-in time is ideal for students who have identified a particular area of work that they would like to focus on. Students are also encouraged to come explore different topics to learn more about themselves.   

30 Minute drop-in counselling sessions [Mondays and Thursdays / 1 – 3:30 p.m. / C233]
First come, first serve. No appointment necessary.

Photo by Avni Jain on Pexels.com

Knitting Group [Tuesdays / 1:30 – 3 p.m. / Front lounge area in the Vera Bracken Library]
Two wonderful ladies from the Medicine Hat community have volunteered their time to teach students how to knit while they also informally offering mental health support. We will be working together to make a blanket that will be donated at the end of the semester. All materials provided. No experience necessary. (Crocheters also welcome but must bring own supplies).  

Animal Therapy [Wednesdays / 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. / Front lounge area in the Vera Bracken Library]
Miss your own dog? Wish you had a dog to cuddle? Drop- in to interact with Rocky and Louie to decrease stress and build connections.

Creative Minds Group
Starting in February, time and date TBD. This group will consist of creative writing, painting, drawing, etc. and focus on maintaining mental wellness. Students must register for group. Please email
lareshenkoff@mhc.ab.ca or kmills@mhc.ab.ca if you are interested in attending.  

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

The Inquiring Mind
This course is designed to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. The session is three and a half hours and consists of mental health and illness on campus, stigma and discrimination on campus, warning signs, self-care, creating a supportive campus, and practical application. Students must register for session, please e-mail
lareshenkoff@mhc.ab.ca if you are interested in attending. Time and date TBD.

Remember- you don’t have to be in crisis to start taking care of your mental health, make it part of your daily routine. We often hear about “self-care” and how you “NEED TO BE DOING SELF-CARE!!!!”. What does that even mean? Well… these groups/activities are a great place to start!

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

If you are wanting to book an appointment with one of our counsellors, it’s quite easy. Simply stop by the advising desk, or call 403.529.3819. You’ll be set up with a quick 30-minute screening to ensure that individual counselling is the best fit for you, and then you’ll be set up with the appropriate service for your needs.

I am looking forward to meeting you all this semester!

Bell Let’s Talk Day – A Springboard for Mental Health Awareness

bellletstalkThere’s no doubt about it – talking about mental health can be hard! Sometimes unsure of where to start or what to say, people take the easiest road out and say nothing at all. Luckily, there’s an easy way to start changing this unfortunate turn of events and it’s all thanks to Bell Let’s Talk Day – happening this Wednesday, January 30th, 2019!

With the advent of Bell Let’s Talk Day in 2011, we’ve been able to open the doors to an easy conversation all about mental health. And, while talking about mental health is what Bell Let’s Talk is all about, it begs the question of how do we keep the momentum going year round?

Fortunately, with this year’s poster, Bell has us covered once again! Keep reading to discover how you can #endthestigma!

bellelts

“Get Help.” Bell Let’s Talk, letstalk.bell.ca/en/get-help. Accessed January 28, 2019.

 

1. Language Matters – Take a minute and reflect on what your word choices are. Is there a better way to say something than “crazy?” Words can hurt, be mindful of your choices!

2. Be Kind – Everyone can be fighting a hard battle, and we may not get to know what that battle is. So be kind to others and to yourself.

3. Educate Yourself – There’s a lot of information out there about mental health and mental illness. Sleuth through it and get the facts so you can go forward, armed with knowledge!

4. Listen and Ask – Did you know that we can all talk about mental health? All we have to do is ask non-judgemental questions and actively listen to those around us. Mind blowing isn’t it? ;D

5. Talk About It – Now that you’re following all the other 4 steps as outlined above, it’s time to really break down the stigma and talk about what’s going on with your mental health. Be an advocate. Get out there and let the truth be known – we all have struggles, we all have mental health and we can all make a difference by joining the conversation!