The Vernon and District branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is joining CMHA branches across the country to mark its annual Mental Health Week from May 6-12.
“We encourage everyone in our community to take action during Mental Health Week to raise awareness about mental health, said Julia Payson, CMHA Vernon executive director. “We all have mental health and have faced challenges from time to time. It is important for those facing challenges and need help to know they are not alone and it is OK to ask for help.”
CMHA Vernon is hosting a block party and barbecue on Thursday, May 9, at the Polson Park Band Shell from 12 to 2 p.m., featuring the 6 Shades of Grey band, and barbecue for a $2.50 donation. This is a great opportunity to come out to support mental health in our community.
CMHA is also hosting Mixing it Up for Mental Health on Saturday, May 11, from 6-9 p.m. at Durali Villa, Old Kamloops Road. The evening features live music from Tanya Lipscomb, wine tastings, drinks and appetizers, and a silent auction. Funds raised will support local mental health including early intervention and youth programs. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.mixingitup.ca.
Nationally, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is calling for a national mental health promotion strategy to help shore up Canadians’ mental health in the face of rising rates of mental illness worldwide. The call is one of six recommendations outlined in a new national CMHA policy paper, Cohesive, Collaborative, Collective: Advancing Mental Health Promotion in Canada, released Monday.
“Most efforts to support mental health in Canada focus on treating addiction or illness, or managing symptoms, and not on fostering mental health—and even those treatment services are not adequate to address the growing need,” said Dr. Patrick Smith, national CEO, CMHA.
“All signs point to not being able to treat our way out of this crisis. We have to get ahead of it.”
Mental health promotion efforts, such as suicide-prevention programs and community-based skills training on managing anger, reducing stress and addressing risky behaviours, are proven to improve population mental health and reduce public- and private-sector expenditure on mental health care and treatment.
“Given 70 per cent of mental health problems begin in childhood and adolescence, and that mental health promotion efforts are most effective when they begin early in life, schools are an ideal setting in which to promote good mental health in Canadians,” said Payson.