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A key lesson from mental health experts: focus on simple strategies

Published on July, 22nd 2018
By Greg Wells

One of the incredible aspects of the worldwide effort to promote mental health is that it brings together experts from a range of professions. By comparing notes, sharing knowledge and generating collaborative solutions, we are making a difference.

As a physiologist, my entry point into any conversation about mental health is an emphasis on the body. And while that remains a central focus in my work, I have built a network of people who complement my knowledge and help me understand topics that are a bit outside my wheelhouse.

A good example is my work with two exceptional psychologists, Dr. Sarah Gairdner, a member of my team at the Wells Group, and Dr. Bill Howatt, Chief Research and Development Officer at Morneau Shepell.

One of the major lessons I have learned from Dr. Sarah and Dr. Bill is that mental health issues are incredibly complex but the strategies for establishing positive mental health can be incredibly simple.

Mental health is multi-factorial and there are often many reasons why a person ends up struggling. Also, when mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety go unchecked for a period of time, generally six months or longer, an individual can slip into mental illness. The sooner a person can reach out for help, the sooner they can start moving back toward a healthy mental state, which is why it is so important to destigmatize mental health issues.

If you had a broken arm, you wouldn’t hesitate to get it checked out. Why should it be any different if you are depressed or flooded with anxiety? Find someone to talk to. Have a network around you and reach out when you are struggling.

Beyond that core advice, Dr. Bill and Dr. Sarah focus on basic strategies that help people be proactive about mental health. Those techniques include making time for yourself, speaking to yourself with care and compassion, and surrounding yourself with inspiring and positive people. They also recommend strategies that are in my wheelhouse – learning to eat, move and sleep better so you can capture the mental and emotional benefits of a healthy, active life.

Simply put, Dr. Sarah and Dr. Bill suggest that you focus on practical, everyday strategies that will improve your mental health.

I hope you enjoyed this article!

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