At least one third of Canadians are affected by mental illness, and more people are talking about it. “You see friends that are struggling and realize that this isn’t something to be ashamed of, or something that we won’t need to push inside of a closet,” said Trix VanEgmond, Mental Health Public Educator for Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex, “We’re willing to support our friends, we’re willing to identify for ourselves.”
She says mental illness can be passed down genetically, adding that a person is 30% more likely to develop clinical depression if they have a parent with it. Around 30% of youth between the ages of 15-24 will have a mental illness. Along with genetics and puberty, VanEgmond said balancing a variety of stresses could be the case. “Not only is it school, but relationships, family, employment, sometimes the very first things that we are going through as well.”
Eating well, exercising, and sleeping properly are some of the ways to manage your mental health. VanEgmond also suggests to figure out which relationships are healthy. “We have all kinds of relationships, and sometimes we really do allow or suffer ones that aren’t very good for us for way too long,” she explained, “It doesn’t mean we get rid of all of those, but certainly learning boundaries and ways so those negative influences are less impactful.”
She adds to write down feelings in a calendar to keep your mental health in check. VanEgmond said she understands that sometimes people skip sleep, meals, and exercise as an attempt to try to balance everything. However, if it becomes a pattern, she said to get back on track as soon as you can.
“That may mean that you have to be a little less social, it might mean that you have to give up a shift of work, all that sort of stuff, but your body and your mind is worth it.”