Mental Health Matters
Submitted by Angele D’Alessio
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Promoter
As the holidays pass and the doldrums of winter wear on, many people begin to experience lower mood and mild symptoms of depression. With the pandemic complicating matters, the ‘winter blues’ could be even more challenging and affect more people this year.
The winter blues are so common that they’ve even been used as a marketing ploy. You may have heard of ‘Blue Monday.’ Each year, the third the Monday in January is referred to as ‘the most depressing day of the year’ in news reports and across social media. This myth gained steam in 2005 when a vacation agency in the U.K. commissioned a former lecturer at Cardiff University to determine the most depressing day of the year to sell vacations.
While the idea of one particular day being ‘most depressing’ has been widely debunked, the winter blues are indeed a real thing.
Research in Ontario suggests 15 per cent of the population has experienced the winter blues, symptoms of which may include changes in appetite, lethargy and low mood. You may also be familiar with the more commonly-known seasonal affective disorder, which is a serious form of depression that affects about two per cent of the population.
If you’re worried that you’re susceptible to the winter blues, there are lots you can do get through the winter season in a healthy way. Here are some tips:
• Reduce social isolation: a lack of social connection can intensify feelings of loneliness and low mood, so do things like telling others you appreciate them, gather virtually, join a new online group, or make a schedule of reminders to stay in touch with others.
• Take care of your physical health: regular exercise can help you feel less stressed, and eating healthy can increase your energy. Going for walks, eating nutritious foods and keeping a consistent sleep schedule will all aid the way you feel.
• Get some sunlight: vitamin D deficiency can be a real problem for many during the winter months. More sunlight can help with that. Try to get outdoors during the day, keep curtains open and sit near a window when you can.
• Practice self-care: this can be anything that’s healthy and brings you joy. Take up a hobby, watch a new show or movie. Treat yourself!
The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice. If you need advice, please consult a qualified health care professional. For further information or if you want to access our services at CMHA please call 1-800-493-8271 or visit our web site at www.cmha-east.on.ca.
Local Canadian Mental Health Association chapter hosting online conversation on ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day,’ this Thursday, Jan. 28
CORNWALL — Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, January 28th, and CMHA Champlain East is joining in to help drive progress in mental health.
COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, including our mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 38% of Canadians say their mental health has declined due to COVID-19, and people already struggling with their mental health were 2 times more likely to say their mental health has declined due to the pandemic.
Since 2010, Canadians and people around the globe have joined in the world’s largest conversation around mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Together, Canadians have taken big steps to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and inspire one another to take action and help create a Canada where everyone can access the mental health support they need. In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen Consumer Insights, 83% of Canadians now say they are comfortable speaking with others about mental health, compared to only 42% in 2012. By joining in and taking action, we are all helping to make a real difference.
This year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign shines a light on the actions that we can all take, because now more than ever, mental health matters. Whether you’re staying virtually connected with a family member, working directly with patients in recovery, investing in access to care or even just taking care of your own mental health, every Canadian can play a part in their communities, workplaces, schools and at home.
In recognition of Bell Let’s Talk day, CMHA Champlain East will be hosting a live event on MS Teams to engage the community in a conversation about mental health, mental illness and stigma. The event begins at 6:30 PM with special guests Bernadette Clement, Melanie Brulee, cofounders of MenTALK Stephen Douris & Ivan Labelle, Mitch Dubeau (Mental Health Advocate) & Chantal Larocque (Mental Health Advocate). To register and get the link, visit eventbrite.
There will also be a flag-raising ceremony at the Justice Building in Cornwall on January 28th at 1 p.m.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long-distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk. It also donates 5 cents for every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.