Celebrating mental health every day

It was one year ago that I embarked upon a fruitful year of mental health wellness after struggling with a bipolar depression episode that lasted almost two years.

I outlined my struggle in detail in a Blog I prepared for Let’s Talk, an advocacy program by Bell Canada to promote mental health education, research, and awareness.

Entitled Living with Bipolar Disorder: Let’s Talk 2018, the Blog can be accessed here. 

Since that time, I have appeared on The Morning Show on 1290 CJBK with Lisa Brandt and Ken Eastwood to discuss my experience and I have spoken to numerous people about their personal struggles.

Every day I wake up, I thank Dr. Akshya Vasudev, Assistant Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Medicine of the LHSC Geriatric Mental Health Program, the man who helped nurture me back to good mental health. I will forever be in his debt.

I know that the holiday season is an important time of the year for many people.

For many it is a time to get together with family and friends and take stock of another year come and gone. For others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, it can be a time of loneliness, personal isolation and pain.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has some suggestions for dealing with a family member or friend whom you think is struggling with mental illness:

How can I help a loved one?

Supporting a loved one who is experiencing holiday depression, anxiety or stress can be difficult. You may not understand why your loved one feels or acts a certain way. Some people who experience this feel like they have to do things a certain way or avoid things or situations, and this can create frustration or conflict with others. You may feel pressured to take part in these behaviours or adjust your own behaviours to protect or avoid upsetting a loved one. Support can be a delicate balance, but you should expect recovery—in time.

Here are some general tips:

  • Ask your loved one how you can help them.
  • Be patient—learning and practising new coping strategies takes time.
  • If your loved one is learning new skills, offer to help them practice.
  • Listen and offer support, but avoid pushing unwanted advice.
  • Set boundaries and seek support for yourself, if needed.

To access the entire article, click here.

I wish you and yours good mental health this festive season.

Rick Young

December 21, 2018

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