With Mental Health Week on May 2 – 8, we had the chance to speak with Tony Showchuk of STEPPP (SaskTel Employees Personal Problems Program) to gain some helpful insight around this important week and the importance of taking a moment to reflect, listen, and gain understanding.
Here’s what Tony had to say:
Mental Health Week provides us all an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the importance of good mental health for ourselves, our friends and family members, colleagues, and employees. However, this reflection shouldn’t just be one week. Our mental wellbeing can be compromised by many factors such as change/loss, world events, lack of sunlight or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or other reasons we cannot put our finger on. It’s important not to ignore these feelings when they are present, especially if they persist for several days.
Early intervention is key.
Take a moment to do a self-check on how you’ve been feeling emotionally and/or mentally. If you haven’t been feeling yourself lately, ask yourself what has happened or changed recently. Is it something you can address to improve how you feel? If you can’t put your finger on it, that’s OK – but make sure you address how you have been feeling by good self-care such as exercising regularly, and getting the rest and sleep you need. Ensure you have time to cleanse the mind of negative and irrational thoughts through relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or going for a walk. Focus on positive things that can make you feel better and the things in your life that you are grateful for.
Also ensure you have a healthy and positive support network. These supports should include your doctor and a mental health professional, as needed. There are many excellent counseling and support resources out there through your EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) as well as other community related resources. The key is to reach out. And remember that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.
When it comes to others, if you notice a friend, family member, colleague, or employee struggling, do not ignore it. Let them know if you notice they haven’t seemed to be themselves lately. Letting them know you care might just be what they need to hear in order for them to start opening up or reaching out. And if the conversation allows, remind them of the resources and support available for them to feel better. There are excellent medical professionals such as doctors and counselors within our community that are here to help. If it is a colleague or employee, feel free to provide them with your company’s EFAP contact information for added professional support.
Let’s all recognize Mental Health Week by creating awareness. Take a moment today to reflect on your own mental health and those you care about… and again every day for the weeks, months, and years that lie ahead.
For more helpful resources and ways to show your support, visit www.mentalhealthweek.ca.
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