Mental Health Matters

Imagine you stop functioning at the mental level you’re used to during work or school. You find yourself withdrawing and losing interest in other people and in your normal activities. You start finding it difficult to concentrate and hard to remember things. You begin having unexplained problems with speech and logical thought. You notice dramatic changes with your sleep, appetite and mood. Experiencing a few of these things could be early signs of mental health problems. If this was happening to you, how comfortable would you feel to share these challenges with others? Would you know where to go for help?

Mental health problems are more common than you think. In any given year, one in five people experience a mental health problem or illness. Many people suffer in silence out of fear of being labeled or lack of knowledge of finding help.

There are many myths about mental illness. For example:

  • Mental illness is “all in your head”
  • Mental illness isn’t very common
  • If you were a stronger person, you wouldn’t have these problems
  • Mental illness will likely go away if I do nothing
  • People with mental illness are dangerous

Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. A person diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from his or her symptoms by actively participating in a treatment plan.

Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 6 – 12, 2013, is an annual, national public education campaign established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in cooperation with its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., CMHA - ER will host an information booth at Steeps Urban Teahouse (12411 Stony Plain Road NW). They welcome you to stop by and try the new tea, called “Balance”, created in partnership between CMHA-ER and Steeps. For additional information on either of these events, please call (780) 414-6300.

If you and/or someone close to you would like information on community supports, please contact 211.

211, a program of The Support Network, is for people who need help, but don’t know where to turn. It is a free, confidential, multilingual information and referral service available 24 hours a day. You can connect with 211 over the phone by dialing 2-1-1 or online by visiting