October 10th is World Mental Health Day. The goal of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness for mental health concerns and advocate for improved support in nations around the world. This year’s theme is “Making Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority.”
According to the World Health Organization, mental health concerns have been on the rise around the world, with research showing a 25 percent increase in global rates of anxiety and depression during 2020.
Closer to home, Statistics Canada estimates that 1 in 2 Canadians will experience a mental health issue by the age of 40.  Around 25 percent of Canadians over the age of 18 showed symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD according to surveys taken in Spring 2021.  Even if you don’t experience any mental health struggles personally, chances are that someone close to you will.
The importance of mental health support
Some of the most common mental health issues that people face are stress, anxiety, and depression. Stress, in particular, is a nearly unavoidable fact of life – one that tends to be made worse by our global, hyper-connected society.
Excessive stress from work, family issues, and global events can lead to longer-term mental health concerns like burnout and generalized anxiety. Stress can affect our jobs, our relationships, and even our ability to take good care of ourselves. How many of us can relate to reaching for poor-quality processed foods, or missing out on sleep when we’re up against tight deadlines or mounting family responsibilities?
Mental health supports, such as appointments with a counsellor, can be helpful for managing stress and coping with mental health concerns. Counsellors provide a safe space where you can talk through your concerns, and learn productive coping strategies to help you overcome challenges and be prepared for whatever life throws at you.
With virtual counselling options like those available on the TELUS Health MyCareᵀᴹ app, counselling support can be accessed conveniently from your home, or anywhere else that you have privacy.
Things you can do today
Getting support from a mental health professional is one way to maintain your mental wellbeing. There are also other things you can do in your day-to-day life to build resilience and productively manage stress.
Expressing gratitude is a simple, yet effective way to improve your mental wellbeing. There are many ways to express gratitude, but it works best when you make a conscious effort to write out what you are grateful for. You can use a pen and paper, or check out our friends at HappyFeed.
It doesn’t need to feel like homework – ideally, it should be a regular habit that you can fit into your schedule. Try writing down a few things you are grateful for at the end of each day, or whenever you have a quiet moment to reflect. Writing down just one thing, a few times a week, can be beneficial.
Expressing gratitude in writing helps by shifting your focus away from negative emotions. Paying attention to things that make you feel good helps strengthen mental pathways for positive emotions, and over time can make it easier to cope with stress.
Whether it’s at work, school, or with family, setting personal boundaries – and sticking to them – can help you avoid getting overwhelmed, or taking on more than you can handle.
Knowing your personal limitations, and setting boundaries to prevent you from exceeding them, can go a long way toward keeping your stress levels manageable. Whether this means having a conversation with your manager about better ways to delegate your workload, or talking to your partner about a more even division of household responsibilities, clearly communicating your needs not only helps you take care of yourself, but can also help to strengthen your social connections.
It may feel awkward or difficult at first, but just like any other skill, it will improve with practice.
By learning, donating, and talking about current issues, we can all help to improve global mental health. Taking care of your own mental health can put you in a better position to help others. If you’re looking for some extra support, or want to build healthy coping strategies for the coming months, speaking with a TELUS Health MyCare counsellor is a good place to start. Book an appointment today and talk to a counsellor virtually when it’s most convenient for you.
Get started with TELUS Health MyCare today