It’s mental health week in Canada, and Canadians are trying to navigate a pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen in over a hundred years, which is being dealt with in an unprecedented way. While we’re finding many new ways to connect and communicate, maybe it’s also the time for us to #getreal in our conversations.
The Canadian Mental Health Association conducted a survey of 1,507 Canadians this year and found that 77% of those who were asked, “How are you?” still respond automatically with “I’m fine, thanks” (Santos, 2020). Meanwhile, a recent poll in British Columbia revealed that residents are experiencing significantly more “worry, stress, boredom and anxiety” than we were pre-pandemic. (Judd, 2020). Clearly we’re not all “fine, thanks”.
So what does this all mean for you?
It may mean it’s time to think twice before you automatically answer, “I’m fine, thanks.” As the CMHA study showed, many of us answer this way regardless of how we are actually doing. If this is your knee jerk reaction, it may be because the question feels like a social nicety, and you don’t want to worry or burden the person asking you with a real answer – but what if answering that way means they will also feel the need to hide their true feelings?
Two thirds of Canadians report that they would like to experience more meaningful connections in daily life (CMHA, 2020). In times of great tragedy, there are opportunities for great deeds. What if your great deed was as simple as actually saying how you are when asked? Could you be honest? Could you be vulnerable? What if, in being kind to yourself, you gave someone else a safe space to do the same? You might just be the change you want to see in the world.
For more on mental health, check out some of the resources below and share them.
Mental Health Week 2020 – get all the information about Mental Health Week on the Canadian Mental Heath Association website!
Wellness Together Canada – a free mental health resource portal from the Government of Canada
Mental Health Commission of Canada – a resource hub for mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mental Health – Health Link BC – a short list of provincial resources for mental health available to British Columbians
CMHA. (2020, 05 04). British Columbians feel anxious and crave real connection, but say they’re doing “fine”. Retrieved 05 04, 2020, from Canadian Mental Health Association British Columbia Division: https://cmha.bc.ca/news/british-columbians-feel-anxious-and-crave-real-connection-but-say-theyre-doing-fine/
Judd, A. (2020, 04 24). Emotional burden of coronavirus on British Columbians has been significant: poll. Retrieved 05 04, 2020, from globalnews.ca: https://globalnews.ca/news/6864759/coronavirus-emotional-burden-british-columbia/
Santos, J. (2020, 05 02). Social Connection Promoted During Mental Health Week. Retrieved 05 04, 2020, from canada.com: https://beta.canada.com/news/local-news/social-connection-promoted-during-mental-health-week/wcm/61ccb3c0-9bc5-41b8-8644-f2bf8ff249ef/