MENTAL HEALTH ACROSS THE WORLD
Why NOW is the time to take action
Believe it or not, mental health declines have been recorded in almost every single country across the globe. Of course, the pandemic brought around some awareness of this significant decrease, but the numbers in mental illness have been soaring out of control for many years leading up to the pandemic.
When COVID-19 first hit us all in March of last year, Statistics Canada recorded that 18% of Canadians reported having poor or fair mental health. This percentage increased by 4% just one month later, around the beginning of May. Additionally, between those two months, 18% of Canadians reported symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety within all regions.
According to Statistics Canada, the youth were most affected by the pandemic last year, while older Canadians had lower rates of symptoms. On the other hand, 19% of adults aged 25 to 64 reported symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety.
To think that our Canadian youth amounted to about 27% of the those affected by a mental health issue, is quite scary. However, since the symptoms reported were so broad in nature and recognized as natural reactions to everything that is happening in the world right now, the good news is that there are multiple ways by which these symptoms can be addressed. Statistics Canada noted some activities that a lot of Canadians adopted last year to keep mentally and physically fit. Here is our take on what we think will make a huge difference for anyone who is living with a mental illness or feeling symptoms of declining mental health during this time:
- Yoga and Meditation: With everything going virtual, YouTube has a ton of free classes that you can enroll in. The benefits of yoga are too many to count, but the most important one, in our opinion, is mindful breathing. When you’re having a rough day, or just feel your anxiety levels rise, taking a few long and deep breaths can do wonders in helping you stay centered. Now, imagine practicing your mindful breathing exercises three to five times a week, while getting a workout in at the same time. Sounds pretty amazing, right? We think so too.
- Eat your greens: We’ve said before and we’ll say it again – eat wholesome and healthy meals. Just as it is important to feed your mind with good, uplifting content, it is important to balance that our by feeding your body nutritious meals. A general rule of thumb is to ensure that half of your plate if filled with leafy green vegetables, while the other half is filled with healthy carbs and fats (ideally in equal proportions). This will not only help keep you physically fit, but will also give your mind the nutrients it needs.
- Step out of the house: Depending on where you are, you’ve probably had to deal with a lockdown at some point of time in the past year. It’s not fun, to say the least. So, go for a walk, get some fresh air, clear your mind. Even if you are living alone, try to take yourself out on a mindful stroll, and let your eyes take in the beautiful sights around you. We know it can be hard, but this could also be a time of self love and reflection. Try not to miss out on the opportunity to relax, release and reset.
- Download a video networking app and reach out to your people: You would be surprised just how many people want to hear from you. So reach out, it will do you good for sure, but it may also just make the other person’s day. Win-win!
We know that all of the above can also be easier said than done, but during a low day, they are tried and true ways to help make you feel better. Last year, Statistics Canada also reported that 48% of Canadians reported excellent or very good mental health, owing to the fact that they were performing these activities around the same time that the survey was taken.
Lastly, while the above numbers were extremely daunting to look at, we at Reach Out Together went on a mission to stay in action and lower the stats. Our entire team worked hard and continues to work tirelessly towards educating the masses about mental health and providing support. Through dedicated training sessions and one-on-one programs, Reach Out Together makes YOUR mental health a priority every single day. For more information about the programs and events offered, visit https://reachouttogether.com/programs/ .
Alternatively, you could visit this space same time, next week, for more curated content about mental health and illnesses.
To your wellness.