Every year, in the first full week of May, people rally for CMHA Mental Health
Week. It’s a Canadian tradition bringing communities, schools and workplaces
together to celebrate, protect and promote mental health.
This year, things are looking a little different. We are confined to our
individual living spaces, in a time
of collective uncertainty and physical distancing.
We’re learning that we need each other now more than ever. It is precisely the
time, during and in recovery from the pandemic, to lean on each other. Even if
we can’t be close physically with one another, we need to stay close
Let’s have real conversations about how we’re all really doing. We’re in this
together. Here are seven ways to #GetReal about how you really feel – one way
for every day of Mental Health Week.
Check in on how you really feel.
How many times in a week do you ask—or answer—the question, “How are you?”
And how many times do you go through the motions, and skip the opportunity
to really connect? Chances are you’re feeling more or less than
just “fine.” The English language has literally thousands of words to
describe how we feel. Check out our article,
More than simply fine
a long list of ways to express yourself. Next time someone asks you how you
are doing, tell them like it really is. See how it changes your
Get social on social media.
We’re living in a digital age in which the world is just a touchscreen
away. We can reach hundreds, even thousands of friends, family members and
peers with the tap of a finger. Now is the time to really harness the power
of social media and take the opportunity to use our platforms for
good. Download the
toolkit and #GetReal
by mix-and-matching your favourite social media images and posts. Take it a
step further and customize our blank social media images with your own text
and then upload to your profile.
Tip: Use #GetReal and #MentalHealthWeek in your post to be part of the
Research shows us time and time again that by giving to others, you give to yourself. Whether you volunteer your time, do random acts of kindness
or donate to a cause, helping others will boost your mental health and
wellbeing. Our communities need us more than ever, so for Mental Health
Week, give back. In whatever way you can.
The key to real connection? Listening. Really listening. And some studies
show we could do so much better at it. The good news is that listening is a
skill you can build, and we’ve collected some tips to help you do just that.
So, do your part and brush up on your listening skills. Check out our
for some pointers and then dive in and practice with a friend. Top it off by
reviewing your skills with our
Listening Checklist. You’ll be a careful, active listener in no time.
Check in on your mental health
What better way to celebrate Mental Health Week than to check in on your own
mental health? While feeling well means different things to different
people, some things might actually apply to all of us: in order to thrive,
we all need a good sense of self, and we all need a sense of purpose,
contribution, hope, resilience and belonging.
To make it easy, we’ve created
a simple checklist
to guide you in checking in with yourself. Encourage the people you love to
check in, too.
Turn your camera on
We’re lucky to be living in an age when we can have face-to-face
conversations regardless of the distance between us, thanks to video
technology. If you have a computer, a smart phone, or a tablet, you can
set up video for free using Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp and other video
services. If you want to meet in a group, Zoom is for you
The possibilities are truly endless. Try having a virtual coffee date, game
night or just a simple check-in. Even if you can’t be close physically, the
virtual face-to-face time will strengthen your connection.
Celebrate Mental Health Week by being kind to others. There’s even a
new (Canadian!) term for that: it’s caremongering. Showing kindness
can actually work to decrease stress, which we’re feeling more of
lately. Thank someone for their friendship, or send a kind message on social
media. Or reach out to that neighbour who might need your kindness more than
ever. What only takes a few minutes, can make somebody’s day.