Mental health matters. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 Canadians suffers from a mental health problem or illness. Approximately 5% of the population are affected by anxiety disorders while 8% of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives. Mental health issues touch all of our lives, whether it is ourselves or those we love. Thankfully, with greater public awareness, the stigma around mental illness is slowly lessening and ongoing research offers hope.
A holistic approach works best
Be physically active
- Physically releases feel-good endorphins (natural brain-relaxing chemicals) and breaks the cycle of negative thoughts that feeds mood disorders;
- Emotionally helps with self-confidence and controls stress; and
- Socially increases chances for meeting and socializing with others (even brief, friendly exchanges and a smile can help to elevate mood).
Manage your stress
- Accept that there are things you cannot control
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude
- Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, long baths and going for a walk – without your phone!
Connect with others
Study after study indicates that people with strong social networks are happier, healthier and live longer than those without. For wellbeing it is very important to feel connected to family, friends and community. If your friends and family live far away, it is even more important to build a social network locally.
- Join a club or take a class – the more you do, the more people you’ll meet. The NVRC Leisure Guide is a great starting point to find your next fun activity.
- Get into community gardening – digging in the dirt and watching things grow nurtures the soul. It’s also a great way to get your exercise and fresh air. Contact the North Shore Community Garden Society for more information: Community Gardens.
- Volunteer your talents - overwhelmingly, people who volunteer report greater life satisfaction over the average population. Volunteer at your local library, favourite charity.
Reach out for help
It’s normal to feel blue from time to time. Life can get stressful and difficult, but don’t normalize prolonged feelings of despair. Reach out to your family, friends and community.
- Canadian Mental Health Association North and West Vancouver Branch
- HOpe Centre – 1337 St. Andrews Avenue, North Vancouver
- The Foundry for young people ages 12-24 years
- If you (or someone you know) might be thinking about suicide, reach out today and talk to someone on your terms:
Suicide Prevention and Support:
Visit Crisis Services Canada
Call Toll Free: 1-833-456-4566 (available 24/7)
Text with someone: 45645 (available daily 1 pm – 9 pm)
Canadian Mental Health Association: Fast Facts About Mental Health
Mayo Clinic: Depression and Exercise
Harvard Health Publishing: Exercise is an all natural way to fight depression
Psychology Today: 25 studies confirm exercise prevents depression
Mental Help: Biopsychosocial Model
Crisis Services Canada Suicide prevention and support