One in five experience mental health challenges

In any given year, at least one in five people in Canada experience a mental health problem or illness, and most of us know someone who has faced a mental health challenge or concern. Mental illness does not discriminate based on age, gender, religion or race. Mental illness can be triggered by stress or a traumatic life experience, and sometimes it develops for no apparent reason at all.

Early warning signs include significant changes in behaviour or personality, confused thoughts or speech, irritability, difficulty concentrating and withdrawal from social situations. A mental disorder affects more than just those who have it. It can change lives forever, sometimes causing families to break up or forcing individuals to live on the street. It can lead to addictions and sometimes even suicide. Treatment for mental disorders has advanced significantly and now includes medication, counselling, therapy and community support to help individuals cope and participate more fully as a part of our community. With support, treatment and intervention, recovery is possible. The most common mental health disorders include Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia.

Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) was founded in 1918. Today the Association operates in all the provinces and two territories, and includes over 135 local branches and regions. Over 25,000 members and volunteers support the activities and programs of the Association throughout Canada.

The mandate of CMHA – Calgary Region is to create awareness, provide promotion and education, and support and advocate for individuals and families living with mental illness and addictions. Our programs serve a range of individuals, from students who are learning about mental health, to individuals with mental disorders who are chronically homeless, living in community care, or independently and need support, to families of those living with mental health issues.

CMHA makes a difference in our community, improving mental health of Calgarians and educating on mental illness to reduce the stigma that still exists. You can get involved by volunteering and/or by donating.

Contact the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region for more information at (403) 297-1700 or email: info@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. To learn more about mental health and mental illness, and the available support services, visit us online at cmha.calgary.ab.ca

Are you in need of immediate assistance?

If you cannot find someone you trust who is willing to support you, dial a crisis line right away (all crisis lines are confidential). If this is an emergency, please dial 911. Help is out there.

Distress Centre (free 24/7 crisis line): 403-266-HELP (4357); TTY (for the hearing impaired): 403-543-1967. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When you make a call to the Distress Centre, you will always get an answer, an open mind and a caring ear. An online chat is available from 5 pm – 10 pm daily. Emails are responded to within 24 – 48 hours (help@distresscentre.com), so call the crisis line if it is urgent.

Distress Centre 24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-784-2433. The Distress Centre has a special number to call if you, or someone you care about is feeling hopeless or having thoughts of suicide. They provide confidential, non-judgmental support to anyone feeling suicidal, thinking about suicide, is worried about someone else or who has lost someone to suicide.

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Information sourced from the Calgary Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website (cmha.calgary.ab.ca) with kind permission.

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