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#GetReal - CMHA Mental Health Week 2020

As we remain in the midst of COVID-19 quarantines, it seems like each day is blending into the last. Thankfully, the Canadian Mental Health Association is here to help us differentiate this week with #GetReal! 

For every year since 1951, CMHA has launched a Mental Health Week Campaign in the first week of May. Timely as ever, the themes for 2020’s week are “social connection,” being truthful about how we feel, and the connections between “getting real” and mental health. 

This week, CMHA wants to emphasize that while 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue each year, all of us have mental health, and need social connection to maintain it. So, I’m here to help break down further CMHA’s campaign, and give you some of my favourite highlights to browse this week. If you’re already interested in reading more, or want to navigate the site on your own, you can head directly to Mental Health Week

If you’re still with me, I’ll start by saying that the Mental Health Week website is broken down into two parts: the 2020 Toolkit, and a section called "Your Mental Health".

The 2020 Toolkit 

In this section, CMHA has provided a downloadable link to what they call their #GetReal toolkit, a ZIP file that houses various shareable communications tools. In the free package, you can find general information sheets (including a fact sheet and a summary of the week’s goals), social media images, banners, and posts (optimized for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and complete with sample captions), email signatures, and even animated video graphics and Instagram stickers. 

These resources are great for anybody, as they can be used to spread mental health awareness on personal outlets, as well as posted on your organization or workplaces’ platforms to show an alliance with national mental health initiatives. If you’re simply interested in one part of the toolkit, the website also breaks it down neatly into sections for easy access. 

We encourage you to explore the full Toolkit.

Your Mental Health 

This part of the 2020 Mental Health Week website is my favourite. It has articles and tips for not only expressing and supporting your own mental health, but also being a compassionate listener and helping other people improve theirs. While some of the articles are especially relevant because they talk specifically about mental health during COVID-19, others are timelessly invaluable, and explore mental health strategies that are relevant for anyone, at any time.

There are ten articles in total, and I encourage you to browse through them to read the ones you’re most interested in. That being said, you did come here for highlights, so highlights are what I will provide! My top three Mental Health Week articles are:

1. Listening: how to make your social interactions real

This is a concise article, but it discusses effective ways to be a mindful listener, so you can truly understand what the other person is saying or expressing. In the age of multitasking and digital distraction, it’s important to stop and pay attention. You can check out some of CMHA’s listening tips at Listening: how to make your social interactions real.


2. Your Social Distancing Survival Guide

Remember when I said timely? Well, this is it! This ingenious list of ideas offers ways to be socially connected while you practice physical distancing. From “scheduling” events into a calendar, to “thinking outside your circle,” there are suggestions to help you stay mentally healthy and in touch with the people you care about. Here’s the full list of ideas on Your Social Distancing Survival Guide.

3. More than simply “fine”

How often have you asked someone how they are and gotten “fine” in return? Or answered “fine” yourself? CMHA acknowledges how often this happens, and offers some words that you can use instead. They’ve grouped the synonyms by categories that fit into “positive” or “negative” feelings. One such category lists these alternatives to fine: “Intrigued, Absorbed, Fascinated, Interested, Charmed, Entertained, Captivated, Engaged, Engrossed, Curious, Surprised.” For more ways to avoid the dreaded F-word check out More than simply "fine".

“Maybe, just maybe, if we said more than just ‘I’m fine,’ we would connect a little more, and have more meaningful connections” ~ CMHA

There you have it! Some highlights from CMHA’s Mental Health Week. It may only run from the 4th to the 10th, but we can practice mental health and connectedness all year long.

Let’s #GetReal this 2020!