The year’s theme of CMHA’s Mental Health Week, May 7-13, 2018 is: #GetLoud about what mental health really is.

Everyone has mental health, and everyone maintains their own mental health somehow, just as they do their physical health. This week is about promoting what we can do as individuals to help keep ourselves mentally healthy.

Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean being happy all the time. We all go through ups and downs in life, and that’s normal. Mental health is about how to balance our lives and manage those ups and downs constructively.

Here are some key factors for maintaining mental health, including examples of how to put them in to action. The goal is to be better equipped to deal with the lows in life:

  • Social supports that make someone feel loved, respected and strongly connected to others are important for our mental health and resiliency
    • Meet with friends for coffee or dinner
    • Call a friend or family member
    • Be genuinely interested in the lives of others and be sure to let them know you care about them!
  • Physical activity and psychological health go hand-in-hand; exercise promotes positive mental health
    • Get out for a walk
    • Go for a run or a swim
    • Do some yoga
    • Play sports with friends
  • Positive lifestyle and health choices can help us avoid coping with stress in negative ways that ultimately add more stress, like drinking alcohol excessively
    • Eat healthy foods
    • Limit consumption of drugs and alcohol
  • Spirituality can help us find deeper meaning in our lives
    • Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation
    • Take three deep breaths first thing in the morning and before you go to bed
    • Attend places of worship; find a group within your faith to connect with
  • Positive thinking has a huge impact on how we feel and think about life
    • Try see the silver lining in life’s situations – if something negative has happened, try to find a positive aspect of the situation; can failures be turned in to opportunities?
    • Practice gratitude: write down a list of things you’re thankful for

Ultimately, promoting our mental health helps us build resilience so we can better weather the ups and downs of life. That means that more of us will be able to cope with our mental health issues before they overcome us and potentially even cause us to consider suicide. Also, being self-aware and actively doing things to build resiliency can help us help others when they need us to!

For more information on mental wellness and suicide prevention, check out our article on the subject.