‘We’re not alone,’ Burke says at mental health presentation

By James Kelly
Feb. 11, 2014

Reid Burke says mental health affects everyone, not just those struggling with it.
The executive director of the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Mental Health Association spoke about mental health issues at the Centre for Community Engagement at Holland College on Feb. 3.
The audience for the presentation, sponsored by the college, was estimated at 200 students.
Burke said people refer to the mentally ill, but, he said it is more than just them.
“It is just us.” Burke said. “We’re not alone.”
Students at Holland College are undergoing examinations and Burke took this into account.
“We certainly recognize your school life encompasses many things. Exams, relationships, homework. It is all very stressful.”
Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie told the students no matter who they are, there are always services available.
“If you are uncomfortable with that, you can always talk to co-workers, peers, or family. Just know that you’re not alone.”
Currie encouraged people to seek help if they are struggling with mental health issues.
Amanda Brazil, another member of the Canadian Mental Health Association, said she felt overwhelmed, as this was her first presentation in front of such a large audience.
“We must be sympathetic to myself, just as we must be sympathetic to those with mental illness.”
Brazil said one in five people have mental health issues. Eighty per cent of them feel overwhelmed at times, and 50 per cent of that percentage feel hopeless, she said.
“We all react differently to situations. If someone moved to a new house and had a bad experience moving, whether the movers were late or it was stressful searching for a house, it would be feel stressful the next time they moved. If our methods of coping are not great, we risk our mental health in the process.”
Brazil said people with a mental illness react normally to abnormal situations.
“We need to realize that mental illness is not a life sentence. Medication and coping skills can help. This is not a life sentence, we must make sure we know that.”