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Mental health | What you need to know?

While mental health has become a priority for the media and Canadians in general in recent years, it is difficult for the public to understand just how serious and potentially destructive this crisis is, both socially and personally.

To name a few figures, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 450 million people are currently living with a mental illness, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide. In addition, one out of every two Canadians will be diagnosed with a mental illness before the age of 40.

What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual can realize his or her own potential and cope with normal life situations and the stresses they generate. A mentally healthy person can contribute to their community and work productively.

It is normal for the quality of our mental health to fluctuate over the course of our lives and seasons. Haven't we all felt a little more depressed on certain cold winter days? Haven't we all felt sad after a breakup or the loss of a loved one? These fluctuations are normal and healthy for our mental health.

It is when an individual is faced with great difficulties or experiences stress that exceeds his or her ability to adapt that he or she may develop mental health problems. These coping capacities are determined by biological, psychological and social factors that can vary over time.

The development of a mental health problem is therefore the result of a combination of biological, psychological and social factors in a favourable context, i.e., increased stress and decreased coping skills.

Fortunately, it is possible for a person to regain better mental health.

What can you do to improve your mental health?

  1. Encourage positive and meaningful connections in your relationships. Maintaining good relationships, helping others, being close to people, etc. These are all actions that help you feel good and have good mental health.

  2. Have a good sense of humor. Because laughter is one of the best ways to get rid of stress and prevent anxiety.

  3. Learn to enjoy the present moment. Not doing many things at once helps us to live in the moment and simply breathe better.

  4. Take time to do enjoyable activities. Hobbies should not be neglected, as they help keep the brain active. And an active brain is much healthier!

  5. Set realistic goals. Achieving them gives you a confidence boost and a sense of satisfaction.

  6. Be physically active. Physical activity contributes to psychological well-being and to the reduction of depression, stress and anxiety.

  7. Get enough sleep. No, we can't say it enough. The basis of everything is good sleep!

  8. Eat a healthy diet. Without wanting to exaggerate and deprive yourself when you want a dessert or a poutine, it is important to eat well to feel good in your body and in your mind.

  9. Take a few minutes each day to relax, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and detach yourself from your environment. This greatly helps to reduce stress and it becomes easier to adapt to changes when you are not calm and composed.

  10. Make a list of three things you are grateful for each day. Gratitude strengthens the immune system.

  11. And if needed, don't hesitate to get professional help if necessary. Sixty percent (60%) of people with mental illnesses avoid seeking help for fear of being judged by others. It is important to seek help before it is too late. Think of yourself first!

Help and resources

To find information and support resources, or to obtain care or services for yourself or a loved one, visit the Mental Health Help and Support Resources page of the Quebec government website.

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