This coming week (May 4-10), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is hosting their annual mental health week. Their theme for this year’s mental health week is the mental health of men and boys. It is something that is sorely lacking. Men are less likely to talk about their mental health, but it affects them just as much as it does women.
Mental health issues do not care what gender you are, what skin color you have, how affluent you are, etc. If you have mental capabilities, you need to take care of your mental health, just as much as you need to take care of your physical health.
Below I’ve included resources from the CMHA website, specifically created for the mental health week, which also includes a fact sheet related to mental health of men and boys. On the CMHA website, many other resources can be found for taking care of your mental health.
One phrase they have used to try to bring awareness to mental health is the question: How do you really feel? Fine or phine? They define “phine” as saying you’re fine when you are not.
I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say that many times I’m “phine.” My standard responses to the questions like “How are you doing?” are “fine”, “good”, “fairly well”, and the occasional “ok”. I could have the worst day possible and I would still give you one of those answers. If you’re close enough to me, I might give you a different response but it would be really rare. Even after my brother died last August when people would ask me the question, I would usually say “ok” or “it depends on the day (or time of day).” I still wouldn’t give people a completely honest answer.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve gotten really discouraged at times and could feel myself slipping down the rabbit hole that was affecting my mental health negatively. I had to consciously change my thought path because I knew if I didn’t, it would get harder to get out of the negative cycle and my mental health would take a nose dive.
Today, during church, was one of those times. One thing that occurred at the beginning of the service that started me on the bad thought path was someone made the comment “Don’t be shy.” As if shyness is something that someone can turn off. As someone who has an acute social anxiety disorder, it kind of offended me.
Shyness is something that a lot of people don’t understand and my family’s comments after church when I brought it up reiterated this. They thought shyness was when you’re quiet and don’t talk to people but it’s a lot more than that.
Merriam-Webster defines “shy” as:
- feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
- showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people
- tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.
People don’t understand issues that relate to our mental health and we need to better educate ourselves and others because mental health affects everyone. Talking about mental health is not an option. It is a necessity.
CMHA’s Mental Health Week Resources