May 1 to the 7th, 2017 – is Mental Health Week in Canada.
Over the past while, I’ve published a number of blog posts dealing in a general way with mental health/soul care. In each of them, I’ve tried bring forward in some way the relationship, at least for me, between mental health/well-being and being outdoors and partaking in outdoor adventures.
Here’s a list of them that you can check out:
Having dealt with significant issues with depression in the past, the stigma surrounding mental heath issues really hits home for me.
Here’s a bit of a sampling of things that were said to me, those many years ago:
- he’s faking – he’s not sick
- can’t he just be happy
- think happy thoughts
- why can’t he get out of bed – lazy bast@@@@
- better take your happy pills
- but, you’re the crazy one
- and the list goes on
Here’s a real gem
A counsellor said this to me: “I really wanted to be a medical doctor, but I couldn’t make it. So, I thought I could make it as a mental health counsellor.” WOW – a “second-hand” counsellor.
Now, you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with the outdoors?
For me, being outdoors refills/refuels my soul and mental well-being that gets worn down from “just living.” We all know and experience, that life is hard enough without stuff happening. Just the busyness of working, family, and everything else and trying to juggle all of that can wear a person down.
So, when I outdoors, at that moment in time, I’m at one with where I’m at – with nature. Oh, I may have to deal with things when I get back, but for those 6, 8, 10 hours on a trail; or couple of days on a backcountry trip… I can let those things go. But, when I get back, I’m know I’m ready for the battle one more time.
There is plenty of scientific data and research that backs this up. So, instead of re-hashing all of this go back and take a look at A Search Through Nature May Lead You to Yourself.
Working to reduce and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues is important to me. And it is important issue to other outdoor bloggers I know and talk with as well. Many have written heart moving pieces on their own sites dealing with these issues in some way and the stigma attached to it.
One of the easiest places to start is to just start talking about it. But, nobody, it seems wants too; it’s kind of that white elephant in the room. But, the discussion around it has to start and it has to start with you and me.
The Canadian Mental Health Association(CMHA) has a ton of information and great resources available to help with the discussion happening this week. Give a click here to go to CMHA #GETLOUD website.
So, today try to do something to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. Seven million Canadians or about 1 in 5 of us live with mental health issues. Many people never seek treatment due to the stigma associated with it.
It’s time to change that attitude.
How can I help?
- use the hashtag #GETLOUD to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. See what is happening to eliminate the stigma across the country
- donate to the Canadian Mental Health Association
- write your MP to garner support for greater funding and reduced wait-times to access mental health services
- wear green to show support for #GETLOUD and Mental Health Week in Canada
- be a friend and talk to someone dealing with a mental heath issue
So, let’s make this a week to #GETLOUD and do our part to eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
Here’s a music video that pretty much sums all this up. Please watch the entire thing.
Thanks for reading and thanks for doing your part.