By Stephanie Drummond
Feb. 12, 2014
Mental health affects everyone in their lifetime and the stigma sometimes attached to it needs to be removed, says the executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association’s P.E.I. division.
Reid Burke spoke to Holland College students on Feb.3 about the ways mental health affects everyone.
One in five Canadians will experience a decreased mental health this year alone, said Burke.
“Mental health is normal reactions to abnormal situations. Only 20 per cent reported they had good mental health in 2012.”
Burke encouraged students to help each other and to be an ear to listen.
“You can have a huge impact on someone else. Most struggle in silence without help.”
Holland College held a series of mental health presentations recently as part of mental health week on campus. The college realizes many students report feeling anxiety and stress throughout the school year, said Paul Murnaghan, unit manager for media and communications.
Health Minister Doug Currie spoke to students about reaching out. Hehas been in the spotlight the past few months over criticism of P.E.I.’s lack of mental health services.
“We need to combat the stigma.”
Currie praised the counselors at Holland College.
“Staff at the college is ready today. P.E.I. is working to create more helpful services.”
He hopes students will listen to each other and work together to make a change.
“We must all work together to bring a change.”
Amanda Brazil of the Canadian Mental Health Association said students with anxiety and depression should speak out and learn new coping mechanisms.
“Check yourself. Keep yourself in perspective. Look for good time management tools. Watch your diet.”
Brazil also asked students to listen to others and not judge.
“Depression is an illness, not a weakness.”
Former teacher, now comedian, Patrick Ledwell offered some comic relief to the crowd, leaving many students crying in laughter.