Mental Health Week: Get real with how you feel

Real question #1:  Do you ever find yourself passing by a co-worker or chatting with a friend and asking “how are you?”, but not really expecting a real answer? 

Real question #2:  Do you ever find yourself passing by a co-worker or chatting with a friend and asking “how are you?”, but not really wanting a real answer? 

Most of the time we reply with, or expect little more than, “fine” or “okay, how are you?” This is the norm in our society. Every time we simply go through the motions, we miss a chance to connect with others in a meaningful way. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) wants Edmontonians to #GetReal during Mental Health Week (May 4-10). Say more than just “I’m fine…” Instead, let’s try talking about how we really feel in conversations with friends, neighbours and co-workers. 

Stay connected

Whether you’re a senior living alone, a healthcare worker on the front lines, a parent homeschooling children, a small business owner, or someone struggling with the financial pressures of recent events, we all feel the effects of the pandemic. 

“Right now more than ever it is so important to reach out to those around you and stay connected,” said Ione Challborn, Executive Director, CMHA Edmonton. 

“Self-isolating does not mean having to socially isolate, and it is vital to keep an individual’s social networks open while respecting local guidelines regarding physical distancing.” 

CMHA Edmonton is there for anyone who is in crisis or affected by mental health issues or mental illness. The 24/7 crisis line, 211 line and online support provide immediate support for anyone in need.

Virtually in this together

Phone calls and video chats offer good opportunities to connect, even when we can’t be in the same room. 

For some, social support offered by a friend or family member may not be enough. Mental health services and supports are available for those who need extra help. While in-person services are limited due to physical distancing requirements, many mental health providers have moved to phone and video conference services.

“We all need to talk through things sometimes, and, especially in our current climate, it is important to listen to yourself and how you are feeling,” said Sean Burr, Social Worker at the City of Edmonton.

Hello, How Are You?

Even before COVID-19, loneliness and social isolation were real. People with weak or few social connections are at increased risk of anxiety, depression and even suicidal behaviours. 

That fact drove the Hello, How Are You? public awareness campaign. 

Buddy Benches, the Hello, How Are You? board game and Hello, Let’s Eat are among the projects in the campaign, which was launched by the City’s Urban Isolation and Mental Health Council. 

If you would like to access mental health supports, here are some good numbers to call: 

780-482-4357 (HELP): the CMHA Edmonton Distress Line, if you or someone you know is in distress

211: for information on a range of community services and supports

1-877-303-2642: the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line for confidential support for mental health concerns

And some helpful places to visit: 

Wellness Together Portal (Government of Canada) 

Help in Tough Times (Alberta Health Services)

Canadian Mental Health Association, Edmonton Region Supports

Explore mentalhealthweek.ca for more information and resources on CMHA Mental Health Week. 

Thanks for reading this.