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We continue to be bombarded with graphically depicted messages that either romanticize suicide in terms of simplistic Romeo and Juliet dreck, or unfairly portray those in the midst of a mental illness crisis as "mad." We start believing falsehoods that keep perpetuating negative stereotypes and stigma.
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Each one of our stories is important. When we find the courage to have real conversations about our inner worlds, we have the potential of helping another through their struggles. When we reveal our humanity and imperfections, it connects us to one another and create an opening for meaningful, authentic conversations about how we are doing. To have them know and understand they are not alone. I am a mother of four, a wife, an Olympic athlete, a writer, a speaker, a changemaker. I am also someone who has experienced mental illness. I hope that we have the imagination to define one another in our complexity.
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We all feel worried or anxious at times; that's what makes us human. Anxiety can be a healthy internal warning system for us to pay attention to something important. It's our body's way of signalling to us that something matters and needs to be done.
In terms of health care, we have it pretty good. If you are unfortunately diagnosed with cancer, most, if not all of your treatment will be paid for. If you break your leg, you can go to the ER and get a cast and leave without a bill. If you require surgery, the government will pay for that too. But what if your issue isn't physical? What if what's holding you back in life is a mental concern? Well, then you're kind of out of luck.
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When you teach your child "calm breathing," you are using a technique that works to slow down his/her breathing, combating upset, stressed and anxious feelings. Teaching a child to use calm breathing to regulate their emotions is important because it shows them how to change their breathing to minimize the effects of their emotions.
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It is my belief that good counselling can provide a much-needed service in our modern world, but therapy needs to grow and adapt with the times. We have a society filled with very busy, potentially stressed people who want concrete results and some who still fear being stigmatized by seeking therapy or having to go to the "head shrinker."
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It takes a lot of courage to own up to your difficulties, to open up to a complete stranger, and most importantly, to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the inner work needed to heal. It's not a walk in the park, by any stretch of the imagination.
Counselling should push you and test your limits, and help you understand your strengths and vulnerabilities. It may be uncomfortable and exhausting at times, but in the same way a good work out feels good physically, a good psychological workout can be deeply, emotionally satisfying.
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You've heard of the recent attacks on women's healthcare in the States, but in Canada, we're feeling the impact too. For 50 years, Planned Parenthood Ottawa has been there for our community, providing unbiased counselling, education, advice and support. But it's become increasingly hard to do our work. Planned Parenthood is under attack, by people who oppose healthcare for women and the trans community, who don't want youth to get the education they need, and who dedicate themselves to cutting our funding every way they can.
In Canada, I quickly realized, depression is one of the only life-threatening illnesses that you have to be rich to get proper treatment for. Since 1961, Canadians have taken care of our neighbours, our family, and our friends if they have illnesses like heart disease, or diabetes. But if they're suicidal or depressed? We've basically said tough luck -- deal with it yourself. This while more people are actually suffer from mental health issues each year then heart disease and diabetes combined.
So many laughs and images are conjured in my mind when I think of Robin Williams. Whether he was shouting "Good Morning Vietnam" or giving a whole new image to cross dressing as Ms. Doubtfire, Robin W...
University is stressful and students can develop mental health disorders at this time. In fact, the majority of these disorders tend to develop around this age group. Getting help early on for mental health problems is always a good idea. For example, it is ideal to prevent problematic shyness from becoming Social Anxiety Disorder and normal sadness from becoming clinical depression.
I've always found it puzzling what people chose to spend their money on at the expense of other things. Now that I work in the mental health field, it mystifies me even more. Weekly manicures, $4 lattes, cab rides, cocktails, botox, restaurant meals: No problem. Counselling? No way.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings, there seems to be a popular mantra that we need better and easier access to quality mental-health care.This is probably a true statement, yet it seems to me we may be avoiding a difficult truth: There are limits to what mental-health treatment can do. The recent story about disturbing violent offender Kayla Bourque, and the court's requirement for her to receive counselling as part of her release from jail, brings this to the fore. The idea that someone with problems as deep-seated as Bourque's can be "cured" by dropping in for sessions at a clinic for a few years is pretty far-fetched.