CMHA Niagara is celebrating Mental Health Week, taking place May 4 – 10, 2020. Every May, people in communities, schools, workplaces and legislatures across Canada, rally around CMHA Mental Health Week.
The concept of the 2020 Mental Health Week campaign is quite simple. We are all asked to #GetReal about how we really feel. Many of us say we’re fine, even when we don’t mean it. ‘Fine’ keeps us at arms-length from real social connections with others and every time we just go through the motions, we miss a chance to connect with others in a meaningful way.
In these days of social distancing, or as we like to more appropriately say – physical distancing, we are learning that we don’t have to be close but we must feel close. We need to feel we are together, even when we are apart. It is precisely the time, during and in recovery from the pandemic, to lean on each other. If we can’t be close physically with one another, we need to stay close emotionally.
Even before there was COVID-19, loneliness and social isolation were already of major concern in our society. People with weak or few social connections are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, anti-social behavior and suicidal behaviours and lacking strong relationships affects the risk of mortality in a comparable way to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
This Mental Health Week, CMHA Niagara has partnered with local businesses to present a virtual classroom of activities that support good mental health and wellbeing. “This time of physical distancing has placed real challenges on our community. Research shows that social connection and social support are factors that protect and promote good mental health. Let’s #GetReal and #GetLoud about our feelings and have real conversations with our friends, neighbours and coworkers about how we’re all really doing. CMHA Niagara is grateful to be working with local partners to provide programs in our Mental Health Week Virtual Classroom that we hope will provide tools, resources and support to our community,” says Tara McKendrick, Executive Director of CMHA Niagara.
Mental Health Week Webinars and Virtual Experiences
Monday, May 4 from 11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Mindfulness of Feeling Tone (Vedana): Feeling tone refers to the way sights, sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations and thoughts get immediately filtered as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral and how a mindfulness mediation practice can help us to understand our experiences and responses and #getreal about how we really feel.
Tuesday, May 5 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Coping with Unemployment: Coping with unemployment can be hard on our wellbeing and maintaining a positive outlook on the future is vital to our mental health. This informative session will be hosted by CMHA Niagara. It will focus on how to manage the stress of unemployment by using self-care and will offer resources for support in Niagara.
Wednesday, May 6 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
#GETREAL. GET YOGA.: Concentrating on physical and mental wellbeing, this yoga class is accessible for everybody and every body. Hosted by Bridgewater Yoga, the class will incorporate grounding postures and breath work in this hatha yoga class.
Thursday, May 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Self-Care for Uncertain Times: Your days look different. Your schedule has changed. Presented by Laura Hughes, this lunch and learn will help guide you in learning how to navigate what you are feeling and help you connect to simple ways you can care for yourself during this time.
Friday, May 8, 2020 from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Music Speaks – Tips and Tricks to Help you #GetReal Using Your Own Voice: Join Tenja to learn how to open up, find your voice and look at how to breakdown a lyric. We will then combine it all with a few of her tricks to share and tell a story through song!
ABOUT CMHA MENTAL HEALTH WEEK
First marked by CMHA in 1951, 2020 marks the 69th annual Mental Health Week. Mental Health Week shifts societal beliefs and perceptions about mental health. It helps promote behaviours and attitudes that foster well-being, support good mental health and create a culture of understanding and acceptance. Mental Health week is widely recognized on social media and in the news media across Canada and with local events like open houses and speakers’ series.
ABOUT CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION, NIAGARA BRANCH
CMHA Niagara is a branch of a national organization that promotes mental health of all and supports the recovery of individuals experiencing mental illness. CMHA Niagara is one of over 90 branches that offer mental health services in communities across Canada. In Niagara, we provide programs and services that directly support individuals with mental illnesses, mental health concerns and problematic substance use. CMHA Niagara offers mental health awareness information and resources for people interested in becoming more aware of signs of mental illness and risk of suicide. For more information, visit cmhaniagara.ca.