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What is Mental Health Week? Read to Accept the Challenge!

First, let’s discuss mental health in general and below I will speak more to what mental health week is and you will find my challenge there as well!

#cmha posted an article on their site, that discusses how mental health is similar to physical health and is a great introduction! I particularly liked the statement, ‘mental health is more than the absence of mental illness’.

Mental wellness is the primary focus of my practice. This may, or may not, include working with a diagnosed mental illness. However, the way that I work is to focus on symptoms vs labels. We could all open up the DSM – V and find mental health disorder symptoms that we experience AND this does not mean that we have a disorder per se. In fact, whether there is a diagnosis present or not, my work is often the same as I work with clients to build skills and create a life where they feel well and have the skills to manage challenges that they face in healthy and productive ways.

Mental health is a continuum with one end being mental wellness and the other end being mental illness. We can all be anywhere along this continuum at any given time, and even from one day to the next. We should strive to not focus on where we are relative to others in our lives, but only focus on what we can do today, here and now, to increase our own mental wellness and capacity to live a fulfilling life.

I have had the opportunity to work with a broad range of individuals with an even broader range or presenting concerns; children from age 7 all the way to elders over the age of 80, all different genders, and everything from stress, anxiety, domestic violence, suicidality, distress, and psychosis and there is one unifying theme. We all deserve, and have the capacity, to have a life worth living. This does not mean that it is easy to do so, but through work and support, I believe that this can be achievable.

May is #mentalhealthawarenessmonth and so the focus of all social media postings this month will be around raising awareness of mental health. If you do not already follow me on all of my social media accounts, I am on Instagram @thetattooedtherapist, Facebook - Alexander Cameron Psychotherapy Toronto, LinkedIn – Alexander Cameron and my website where I have a blog (you are likely finding me through one of these as you read this!)

Often the conversation around #mentalhealth focuses on #mentalillness and while this is an important, and often #stigmatized topic, I am excited to take the opportunity to focus on #mentalwellness and mental health as a whole.

According to CMHA, May 6 – 10 2019 will mark the 68th year of Mental Health Week and has been celebrated in the #unitedstates since 1949! It is very encouraging to see a shift in culture to one of acceptance when it comes to mental illness as opposed to one of #stigma. However, there is still a long way to go in creating awareness and safety for those struggling with their mental health to come forward, ask for what they need, and to be supported in a completely open and nonjudgmental way.

I intend to put more energy into my own #selfcare this month and practice #gratitude for all that I have and the tremendous love and support around me.

What is the challenge?

Well I am asking everyone who reads this posting to think about the following over the next month as a way to change the conversation and culture around mental health.

So, how will you support your mental health and wellness this month?

How will you support the mental health and wellness of someone you love or care about?

How will you support the mental health and wellness of your community and society?

Let’s #getloud and break the stigma!

Please feel free to share this within your own networks and tag someone that you wish to challenge to be a champion for mental health awareness, or who is a support in your own mental wellness!

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