Mental health is everyone’s business

Illustration featuring the outline of a human head coloured in untidily with a variety of water colours.

We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. For many of us, those feelings pass but sometimes they develop into more serious, long-lasting conditions. It’s something that could happen to any one of us and we should keep that in mind as we mark World Mental Health Day on Sunday, October 10.

The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”; not just good physical health or the absence of disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a great strain on many people’s mental health.  One of the results is an added strain on various mental health services that range from neurological to substance use disorders.

It’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling, but there remains a stigma attached to mental health problems. Many people feel uncomfortable about expressing their feelings and they often don’t talk about them. Fear and misunderstanding often lead to prejudice against people with mental illness and addictions, even among service providers. The result is that people who are troubled can feel helpless and ashamed, creating a serious barrier to diagnosis and treatment.

We must all work to raise mental health awareness and show support by treating everyone with dignity and respect.

OPSEU/SEFPO represents thousands of members who provide mental health services.  We know how important it is to increase investment in mental health programs. These public services must be funded properly to fully provide the necessary support to members of our communities that require it most.

We should all be concerned about mental health. Take concrete actions to ensure your own mental health; support friends and family who are struggling; and take steps to identify and explain what must be done to make mental health care a reality for everyone.

In solidarity,

President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida