FOCUS ON: Get Loud for Mental Health

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Guest Contribution Ione Challborn, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region

Ione Headshot ColourThe Canadian Mental Health Association is celebrating its 64th Mental Health Week May 4-10, 2015 by exploring the important mental health needs of men and boys.
Check out www.mentalhealthweek.ca to find important information you can use in your classroom and your own life. You can also check out what is happening across Alberta (and across the country!) to celebrate Mental Health Week!

Good mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a perfect life. It’s about living well and having the tools for coping with difficult situations even during life’s challenges.
Each person’s path to mental health is unique. We all have our own goals, our own challenges and our own supports. Good mental health is within everyone’s reach.

Students, parents, volunteers and school staff all come to school carrying their life in their back pack. As well as trying to do their best job; they may also be anxious, worried about bullying or violence, concerned about family members and friends, stressing about coming out or transitioning, hungry or wondering where they are sleeping tonight.

It is easy to feel alone and isolated when your problems are big and feel insurmountable, especially so if there is shame or stigma attached to your “problem.”
Efforts are made every day to make schools safe and caring places. Creating a welcoming and non-judgemental atmosphere, and sharing wide open ears and a soft heart make a world of difference for anyone who is carrying a burden.

CMHA, in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, hosted HEADSTRONG Youth Summits in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge in spring 2015. There is such energy and passion among our youth to end the stigma by sharing personal stories of lived experience (life can get better, recovery is possible!), create circles of friendship and support in schools, and create stigma-free school zones. These youth summits are possible to easily replicate across the province and planning tools are available at www.mentalhealthcommission.ca.

Recent provincial research shows that most Albertans want to learn more about mental health and want to learn how to support their own mental health. They want information. CMHA can help youth, adults and families to learn how to take care of their mental health, get the facts about mental illness and find help. Visit cmha.ab.ca to find the CMHA closest to you.

So when someone asks you how you feel, do you say you feel fine or phine (saying you are fine when you are not)? Now GET LOUD because being phine is not fine.

GET LOUD in support of mental health!

This article appeared in our March 2015 News Bulletin. Click here to read the rest of the bulletin!

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