By: Cassandra Nordal
This is obviously a scary time for us all. Hour by hour, we are watching our world change so drastically that we are all in a state of constant worry and panic. We have been focusing on the detrimental health risk and factors that this virus is causing, and now, we need to talk about the impact this is having on our mental health.
By: Seija Grant, Med CP, RP
Wow! Things are feeling a little chaotic and overwhelming, and certainly anxiety-provoking out there. I am not immune to that as a therapist, and was thinking about what can be done to ease some of the mental (and physical) tension in our community. One such skill that can be cultivated and applied during these tough times is ‘Mindful Self-Compassion’ (MSC). I realize this may be a new concept for many of you, so I will give a brief overview of what this is and how this may be helpful during this tense time.
Take this quiz to find out your risk of burnout, and what to do if burnout occurs.
Digital abuse should be taken as seriously as any other type of abuse.
One of the leading reasons for anxiety is sleep deprivation.
𝒷𝓎 Krista Harper, Guest Submission
"I don’t want to burden people with how I am feeling. After all, it’s just burnout, right? It’ll get better. I just need time to do nothing, time to recharge. But that day seems so far away."
Creating space for pain in your life without attempts at avoidance or judgment will ease your suffering.
Resiliency means not dwelling on failures, acknowledging situations for what they are, learning from mistakes, and moving forward.
Recent studies in the US show that one-third to one-half of teenagers have engaged in some type of self harming behavior.
It is because equality does not yet exist that Pride month is crucial.
Experiencing a trauma response to bad world news? Here are a few tips that can help you cope.
Knowledge, understanding, and love are the antidote to ignorance.
The connection between sleep and mental health is as deep as the bond between twin siblings.
Grief does not come with a manual. It is a raw, powerful, and all-consuming emotion and experience.
When we lose somebody significant in our lives, we will always feel that loss, because their significance never goes away. We never get over it. However, taking it day by day, we can slowly start to heal from the shock and trauma of the initial loss. Additionally, grief can result from more than just death.
We grieve when someone dies. We grieve when a pet passes away. We grieve when a relationship ends. We grieve when we lose our jobs. We grieve when we move. We grieve when our health declines. Essentially, we can experience grief anytime our life changes in a way that is unwelcome and out of our control.
If mental health refers to the emotional, spiritual and psychological well-being of a person, what does Community Mental Health mean?
Community Mental Health refers to the emotional, spiritual and psychological wellness of a group of people.
Like an individual, a community’s mental health can be affected by grief, financial hardships, and traumas. When a community member passes away, most people in that community are affected in some way. Some individuals will need to work extended hours while a co-worker takes a bereavement leave, some teachers or childcare workers will find themselves providing comfort and support to children who are grieving, and many people will simply bear the pall of loss that echoes throughout the lives of the people they know.
“I realize that sometimes I may come off as angry, aloof, quiet, unapproachable and difficult to talk to, but there is more to me than what others may realize. I have anxiety!”
Having anxiety means that one may come off as a bad friend, a coworker that doesn’t care, or even somewhat antisocial to others, but this is hardly the case. The actuality is that people who are struggling to cope with their anxiety care and they care a lot! Fear is a big component of anxiety and keeps those that struggle with it from having meaningful conversations with others, from texting friends whom they really want to spend time with, and fear that they may be a nuisance if they build up the nerve to pick up the phone or to actually have that conversation. People who are struggling to cope with their anxiety are overwhelmed, may feel like crying, and may even get angry if the thought of breaking down crying in front of others would be just too embarrassing. Anxiety is the reason why they may not make good eye contact, that they may be quiet in groups of people, and it is not because they are distracted, don’t care, or are quietly judging others.
People with anxiety are not just quiet! While they may present as quiet on the outside at times, there is often an internal turmoil boiling over inside. Inside they may be struggling with trying to minimize the symptoms of their anxiety that others might see on the outside, they may be trying not bring attention to themselves, they may be going over and over again in their mind trying to figure out what is next or how to say what they really want to say out loud. People with anxiety are not a$$holes, they are people who want to be accepted and liked by others, like anyone else!
While 1 in 3 Canadian women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, sexual offences are less likely than any other violent crime to result in a guilty verdict. Only 5% of sexual assaults are reported to police. The Government of Canada statistics say that an estimated 0.3% of perpetrators of sexual assault are held accountable, whereas over 99% are not. Time and time again we see sexual assault charges being thrown out or dismissed. And even if the person is convicted, the sentence usually isn’t too harsh. So, what should we do as sexual assault survivors? Should we report what happened to us or not?
When I talk about ‘finding a good fit’ I am referring to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. One of the most important factors of therapeutic success is having a strong therapeutic alliance. The importance of this is significant, as you (the client) need to be able to trust the therapist enough to share some of the most vulnerable parts of yourself. Outside of a therapy context, you probably wouldn’t go around sharing all of your most secret, private (possibly darkest) parts of yourself with just anybody, so why should it be different when it comes to therapy? As a client you have the right to try out counsellors to find one that suits you. If you don’t feel it is a good fit, don’t be afraid to ask for an appointment with a different counsellor next time (if this is an option at the agency or organization you are attending). Therapists are aware of the importance of this factor and ultimately want you to be successful and thrive in counselling…even if it isn’t with them. I personally would much rather have a client transfer to another therapist than for them to miss out on all of the benefits of counselling, just because we weren’t a good match.
There can be several reasons for a lack of ‘good fit’ between client and counsellor. Some of the factors to consider:
Do you ever notice that you struggle with a low mood, that you are lacking energy, or are moodier in the fall and winter seasons? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs seasonally and is related to the changes in level of sunlight that you are exposed to during seasons of low daylight. It is important to realize that SAD can occur at other times of the year, for example, for those who work nightshifts who may not have access to as much natural light as those that are awake during the day. Some of the reasons that SAD may occur involves a lack of natural light that may actually affect your biological clock or circadian rhythm and may influence the release of chemicals in your body such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin, affecting your mood.
Do you find yourself in a pattern of promising yourself that you won’t use or drink again but then find you have slipped again and again? Feeling discouraged? It might be helpful to get to know your signs of an incoming relapse or slip.
The following are common “warning signs” that an addiction relapse may be on it’s way. That’s right, there are emotional, physical and behavioural signs that one commonly experiences before the slip.
The use of animals to help people emotionally and mentally seems to be on the rise lately. But can they actually help? While an animal is not a replacement for medical treatment or counselling, they can help to improve your well-being… as long as you like animals.
There are 3 different types of animals that can provide support:
Service Animals – These animals are specially trained and paired with someone who needs assistance physically, mentally, or emotionally. (For example, people who are blind, have epilepsy or PTSD, etc.)
Therapy Animals – These animals have training (not as much as service animals) and are used in short-term sessions to help improve people’s well-being. They can also be used in a group setting or one-on-one.
Emotional Support Animals – These animals do not have specialized training, but are more than “just a pet” because they provide comfort to their owner when they are in distress.
How can animals help? When with an animal that you like, it releases the chemical oxytocin in the brain. This chemical generates feelings of love, trust, cooperation, optimism, calmness, and safety. This chemical can help in a variety of ways.
Are you just going through the motions and wondering what it’s all for?
Are you questioning your purpose in life? Do you feel like you even have one?
Or worse, are you blocking out negative thoughts and feelings with impulse shopping, binge-watching, emotional eating, or an unflagging need to stay busy?
You might be experiencing functional depression, which is one of the more common, unacknowledged issues impacting the quality of our lives.
Functional depression is different from the more well-known Clinical Depression (or Major Depressive Disorder) because it doesn’t come with a major breakdown. That means that you still wake up on time, perform adequately at work or school, and meet expectations in the variety of roles in your life.
So I realize that counselling and psychotherapy can be a very intimidating process for many, and can feel almost too scary to even consider as an option. Well I am here try to calm your nerves, hopefully answer some questions, and break things down a bit.
What type of counselling is right for me?
First of all, there are a few different types of counselling and many different styles. A few of the types are: individual, couples, family and group.
Individual counselling is one to one, and likely the most common type. If you want to work on getting along with others, maybe couples or family counselling is for you. The dynamics of these types are all quite different, as there are different personalities at play. The other type you might come across is group counselling, which means a group of (usually) unknown to each other individuals who all have a common thread. It is usually led by two co-counsellors.
Group counselling is sometimes more accessible than individual, and can be extremely valuable. They all have their benefits, but only you can decide what is right for you at the moment. Some people may see different counsellors for different purposes at different times in their life. This makes sense if you consider that humans are complex beings with multiple dynamic relationships and are constantly changing over the lifespan.
In terms of the different styles – well there are so many that I couldn’t even list them all here. However, some of the main groupings of approaches on the scene these days are: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Humanistic and Neuroscience-Informed. Within these groups there are a myriad of different styles. Each therapist is unique in their own approach and will often have multiple influences within the work that they do with their clients. I know this seems like things are getting pretty complicated, BUT there is a silver lining here. There are several factors unifying counselling styles that are common across the board. Counselling is collaborative, meaning you work directly with your counsellor to achieve your goals. It is a safe-place to be yourself and to talk about your concerns, issues in your life, and your feelings regarding these events or occurrences. Also, you can speak openly and confidentially while having someone listen to you non-judgmentally.
Do you know of a friend, family member or colleague that may benefit from accessing counseling but don’t know how to approach them about it? Have they told you they wanted help but just don’t feel ready yet? Here are some helpful tips on how you can help them feel ready.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada in any given year, 1 in 5 people will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures, and all Canadians are likely to be exposed to a friend, family member or colleague experiencing mental health concerns at some point in their life.
Throughout our lives, we often create undue stress by placing people or situations in “either/or” categories, such as thinking things are either right or wrong or as successes or failures. We create a world that is limited to black-and-white thinking. We do this because it gives us a sense of security and control over life’s uncertainties. This kind of thinking tricks us into believing we have everything figured out; which feels good, but only temporarily.
The truth is black-and-white thinking actually narrows our vision and creates insecurity. It colours all of our experiences, pressures us to live in extremes, and does not account for the “gray area.” Thus, if your performance ever falls short of perfect, you will be inclined to see yourself as a total failure. As you can see, this type of thinking can be emotionally and physically damaging. The fact is life does not work that way. Life is actually full of subtle balance and varying degrees in every area. In fact, there are really very few situations where gray areas cannot be considered.
Written for you, by local therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
Get in Touch
In support of @kellymentalhealthfndn
© COPYRIGHT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. WEB DESIGN BY KMH