May 1-7 is National Mental Health Week, an annual event organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association that encourages people to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues related to mental health.
This year marks the 66th year of Mental Health Week. The City Hall bell tower will be lit in green as part of the national awareness campaign. City Hall staff will also be involved in a daily wellness activity.
"Statistics show that one in five Canadians will suffer with mental illness in their lifetime," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "The point of this kind of awareness campaign is to encourage people to speak up and let others know they are not alone. National Mental Health Week provides an opportunity to remind ourselves and others to be kind to one another because you never know who around you is fighting an internal battle with mental health."
Landmarks across Canada have been lighting up green for Mental Health Week for the past few years, including Niagara Falls, Peace Bridge, CN Tower, and Toronto City Hall – to name a few. The number of participating businesses and organizations continues to increase every year.
At City Hall, in addition to lighting the tower in awareness, employees are being offered an opportunity to try meditation in the workplace during Mental Health Week. Studies have shown that meditation has amazing benefits in lowering employee stress, reducing illness and increasing productivity through improvements in clarity and focus.
Each day, from Monday-Friday (May 1-5), a 10-minute guided meditation will be offered to staff interested in participating. The meditation will be from the app, "Headspace", which aims to teach people with little to no experience, how to meditate.
"We want to demonstrate the importance of self care not only to our employees but to the community at large," said Councillor Terry MacLeod, Chair of the City’s Human Resources, Communications and Administration committee. "We encourage other employers and individuals to find ways to add mental health breaks into each day; find ways to take care of yourself and others. Your mental health is so important and there are resources available if you need help. The Canadian Mental Health Association is a great organization to start with, for example."
For anyone that would like to try mediating on their own time using Headspace, it has a free trial that includes 10 guided meditations. Information is available at: https://www.headspace.com/
To learn more about Mental Health Week and other initiatives happening across the country, visit: http://mentalhealthweek.ca/
This year, the focus of National Mental Health Week is on ending wait times for mental health care to reduce the number of Canadians on standby for the care and services they need. To learn more about how you can help or to access resources, visit: www.cmha.ca/
Call The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885 if you need emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving. Trained and caring staff are available to answer your call anytime of the day or night, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Island Helpline is a free, 24-hour, bilingual, confidential, non-judgmental and supportive telephone service.
Additional resources are available at: http://healthpei.ca/mentalhealth
City of Charlottetown