By: Kathan Kapoor
Mental Health Week is held during the first week of May every year. This year, the week was commemorated from May 3rd to May 7th. Local child and youth mental health departments, including Children’s Mental Health Ontario, which represents over 100 children and youth mental health centres across the province, are reminding families that help and support are still available during these tough times, and should be used by those in need at any time necessary.
As we celebrate National Child and Youth Mental Health Week, it is crucial to recognize that this year has been difficult for students, families and teachers, as levels of anxiety and stress have skyrocketed to unprecedented rates during the pandemic. The theme for the 70th annual Canadian Child and Youth Mental Health week is ‘Get real about how you feel. Name it, don’t numb it’.
As the Canadian Mental Health Association explains, it is hard to deal with emotions when we are not entirely sure about what we are feeling. Furthermore, it should be understood that maintaining positive mental health is not about experiencing happy and positive emotions all the time. It is about recognizing all the emotions we experience, whether they be positive or negative, understanding what makes us feel this way, and learning how we can induce positive emotions or deal with and move forward from negative emotions rather than internalizing themp. Finding healthy ways to deal with our emotions is a crucial aspect of being able to move forward with our everyday lives.
Not only is being able to identify our own emotions important for our own growth and health, but it is important for interacting with others as well, such as family and friends. Once we are able to recognize and find healthy ways to deal with our own emotions, we may have an easier time recognizing emotions that others are experiencing and create a supportive environment for individuals to recognize their own experiences and receive any required help or support.
It is important that students consider their mental health and well-being during these unprecedented times. Whether you need a break for some exercise, a quick snack, a book to read, or a way to turn off your brain for a bit, it is important to recognize these needs so that you do not overexert or put too much pressure on yourself, or else your situation can become harder to deal with.
For resources to help improve your mental well-being, check out the following links: