By Maureen Coulter
Feb. 6, 2014
Student surveys show that 90 per cent of students have times of mental difficulties with sometimes not-so-healthy outlets.
During a presentation on mental health awareness Feb. 3 at the Centre for Community Engagement at Holland College, the P.E.I. minister of health said he was honoured and jumped at the opportunity to speak with students.
Mental health is a very important component of our health, said Doug Currie.
“We as a society have to make the switch from just being sympathetic to those experiencing difficulties to encourage them to seek help and support.”
Currie said people must realize role they play in the support system.
Recent statistics show one in five Canadians in any given year will struggle with their mental health.
Reid Burke, executive director of Canadian Mental Health, said it’s absolutely critical that we understand mental health better.
“People get better. People recover from mental illness. It’s not a life sentence.”
Burke urged students to seek help when they struggle.
Many people with mental illnesses are some of the most productive and highly achieved people in your community, he said.
“It can strike anyone.”
In a recent study, 20 per cent of people polled said they have good mental health. There is a large margin of people we have to pay attention to, said Burke.
Many children with mental health issues don’t receive the help they need. The statistics show only 1-5 children that suffer from mental illness get help, said Burke.
“We have to put a different face on this.”
Businesses are beginning to pay attention, said Burke.
The Canadian economy loses $50 billion a year over mental heath issues.
“Each day 500,000 people miss work due to mental health problems.”
Amanda Brazil said her coping mechanisms are different from someone else’s.
“We all react to stress differently and there is a reason for that. My experiences and your experiences are different.”
There are things that are positive that can cause stress. It is not always a bad thing, said Brazil.
“Stress is essential to our well-being.”
Unresolved stress however can have long-term results, she said.
“Try to keep stresses in perspective.”
The important thing is to recognize your symptoms when you are stressed, she said.
Brazil suggests diet, exercise, sleep, and relaxation as good coping mechanisms for stress.