No shame in seeking mental health help

Anyone reading this can rejoice knowing they’ve made it through the most depressing day of the year.
Earlier this week was Blue Monday, which experts have dubbed the most demoralizing day on the calendar.

For Montreal Expos fans of a certain age, Blue Monday may have a different meaning, but the end result is the same: a whole lot of people feeling depressed about circumstances beyond their control.

The ‘science’ behind naming the third Monday of January as the saddest day of the year actually makes some sense. Up here in Canada the days are cold, dark and unpleasant. Bills are starting to snowball following holiday shopping sprees. Just to top it all off, the guilt of not following through with New Years resolutions is really starting to mount.

None of that even mentions the worldwide pandemic that has been ongoing for almost a year now or the fact Ontario is under its second lockdown in the last 11 months.

Over the next few days social media will remind everyone of the lovely trips they were on this time last year, lounging on a beach on some tropical island. These days a winter escape out of the country is out of the question-except for select politicians, but that’s for another rant.

Perhaps a darker shade-Navy Blue Monday-would be best to describe the 2021 edition.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom however. For starters, it’s only 174 days until July 14, the unofficial Happiest Day of the Year.

Depressing as things can seem right now, there’s always help available. Next Thursday is Bell Let’s Talk Day, which strives to raise awareness of the legitimacy of mental health issues and shake any stigma that might be attached to them. Not everything said about the campaign is positive, but at the very least it’s starting a conversation. Several misconceptions surrounding mental health have been debunked over the years, but there’s still a ways to go.

A July report released by the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health noted 50 per cent of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the onset of the pandemic with 44 per cent feeling worried and 41 per cent feeling anxious. One in 10 Canadians surveyed said their mental health had worsened ‘a lot’ due to the pandemic. It’s probably fair to say those numbers haven’t gotten much better over the last six months as COVID-19 numbers have steadily climbed across the province the last month.

If nothing else, these numbers show anyone feeling this way is not alone. There needn’t be a fear of reaching out for help because these are extraordinary times-not that there ever should have been a stigma in pre-COVID-19 times. Anyone feeling overwhelmed for the first time in his or her life isn’t weak-they’re human.

Anyone in need of help can reach out to Addictions Mental Health Services Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington by visiting Their 24-hour crisis line for Lennox and Addington is 613-354-7388.

-Adam Prudhomme

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