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Why is mental health one of the last social taboos? People are afraid to talk about it, don’t try hard enough to understand it, and struggle to support family and friends that may be suffering from a mental health problem. Partners for Mental Health wants to change that. According to a statistic from Partners for Mental Health, 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from a mental health problem this year. This amount is a staggering result of people not receiving the proper care that they need and deserve to be helped with their mental health problems.

Stress is the most common mental health problem with 23.5 per cent of Canadians reporting they suffer from stress, with anxiety next at 12 per cent and depression following at 8 per cent. These numbers really mean that everyone is in someway affected by a mental health problem. So if everyone is some how impacted by a mental health issue, why is everyone so afraid to talk about it? If you or someone you know is battling a mental health issue, they are at risk of waiting months to get help, being denied housing, being shunned at work and being isolated by friends.

Partners for Mental Health wants to change the way that people think about mental health and create a new state of mind for mental health in Canada. They are advocating:

  • Better treatment for those living with mental health issues
  • Increased funding for treatment, support and research
  • There is no shame
  • People get the help they need, when they need it
  • Increased attention towards our own mental health
  • Better workplace policies

Since we already know that everyday stresses are considered a mental health problem and can contribute to anxiety levels, depression, etc., you need to have conversations with the people you care about most to make sure your mental health is in tip top shape. Many of the blogs that I write are about physical health, such as going to the gym, eating right and treating your body with the care and respect that it deserves. After doing research on the Partners for Mental Health website, I’ve realized that our physical health isn’t the only thing that we need to worry about, we also need to be concerned about our state of mind.

 Here are three tips you can use if you’re feeling stressed:

Talk to someone

  • Talking to a family member or a good friend about what’s going on in your life allows you to vent about day-to-day issues and problems you’re facing. Talking about it also lets you release the sense of stress that you associate with the problems. Having someone from an outside party gives you perspective. Take a step out and think about the bigger picture. Will this problem matter in a week, a year from now?

Get outside

  • The spring weather is approaching and it’s a perfect time to put on those runners and go for a walk. I find exercise and getting outside is the best way for me to relax and get my mind off of whatever is bothering me, whether it’s an assignment that I’m stressed about or thinking about what I’ll do after I graduate (that last one stresses me more, haha).

Try something new

  • Last summer I started to do yoga and the balance of physical exercise and meditation really allows my mind to relax and release negative energy. The best part of the practice for me is at the end of a yoga class where you lay down and shut your eyes, you might grab your lavender eye pillow and let your mind wander. Let go of the stress and negative thoughts and think about things that you are in control of, your intention for the day.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Partners for Mental Health, Algonquin College students have collaborated with Partners for Mental Health to host a series of events over the next few weeks. Come out to Algonquin College on Saturday, March 29th 2014 and Dodge the Stigma at a charity dodgeball tournament run by Algonquin College public relations students. The tournament will be held from 11am-3pm and will have prizes, music and so much fun! A team consists of 6 people and each member is required to pay $12.

To sign up, please log on to our Event Brite website, and register your team to Dodge the Stigma. All proceeds will go to support Partners for Mental Health and their “Right by You” campaign. Come out with friends on March 29th and #DodgetheStigma in support of public relations students’ #headSTRONG campaign.

Please visit www.partnersformh.ca to find our more ways you can help those suffering from a mental health problem and take the pledge to improve the way Canadians think about, act towards and treat mental health.

I'm a third year Honours Public Relations student at the University of Ottawa and am originally from Leamington, Ontario. I like to read, stay fit and spend time with family & friends!
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