From May 3-9, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) joins Canadians across the country in celebrating the 70th annual Mental Health Week.
The focus of this year’s Mental Health Week is to promote the importance of emotions and the role that understanding them plays in good mental health. New national monitoring results from CMHA and University of British Columbia researchers indicate that a large number of Canadians (41 per cent) report a decline in their mental health since the onset of the pandemic, compared to 38 per cent in the spring and 40 per cent last fall. Seventy-seven per cent of adults report feeling negative emotions as a result of the pandemic, with the five most common responses being ‘worried or anxious,’ ‘bored,’ ‘stressed,’ ‘lonely or isolated’ and ‘sad.’
“While it’s discouraging to think that so many Canadians are feeling upset, difficult emotions may actually be an appropriate response to a major event like a global pandemic,” said CMHA National CEO Margaret Eaton. “It’s a sign of good mental health when someone can experience a full range of emotions, and recognize, understand and manage how they feel—even when it’s uncomfortable. Being able to make an emotional connection is also part of how we seek comfort and reassurance from people in our lives.”
CMHA is sharing the message throughout Mental Health Week that when it comes to emotions, it’s important to name it, don’t numb it. Research has shown that naming, talking and writing about our emotions helps to regulate them by decreasing our anger or fear response. When we understand and work with our emotions, this helps protect our mental health, during tough times like the pandemic and throughout all stages of life. And, when we understand how we’re feeling, we’re better able to understand and empathise with others. This helps create a climate of support and acceptance.
Learn more about mental health and emotions at mentalhealthweek.ca. For Ontarians looking to join the conversation this week, check out local branch events, get involved by using the hashtag #GetReal on social media and visiting everythingisnotok.ca to support a mental health and addiction wait time strategy in Ontario.