"If nothing else, one day you can look someone straight in the eyes and say, `But I lived through it. And it made me who I am today." - Iain S. Thomas

"Anyone who takes the time to be kind is beautiful." - Richelle E. Goodrich

"Always help someone. You might be the only one that does."

Mental Health

Mental Health in Niagara

(OSDUHS 2011)

Being mentally healthy is having the ability to maintain your mental and emotional well-being. Mental and emotional well-being is maintained by behaving, thinking and feeling positive, and the ability to cope with every day challenges.

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Understanding Mental Health vs. Mental Illness

Mental health: Having a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental.

Mental illness: Characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or a combination), and impaired functioning over an extended period of time.

You can have poor mental health but it doesn't automatically mean you have a mental illness. Everyone has times of positive and negative mental health as well as feeling of depression or anxiety. This does not necessarily mean that they have a mental illness. Negative mental health causing impaired functioning for an extended period of time may indicate a possible mental illness and may suggest a consultation with a medical professional.

Positive Mental Health

Maintaining good mental health is important to your overall health because it has an effect on your daily life including:

Dealing with Stress

Unhealthy Ways You May Currently Cope with StressHealthy Ways to Relieve Stress
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Procrastination
  • Being inactive/ not going outside often
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Taking out your stress on others
  • Over/under-eating
  • Talk to a friend
  • Eat healthy
  • Make a to do list to help organize your day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Do something you enjoy

Stigma

Stigma: Negative attitudes (prejudice) and negative behavior (discrimination) toward people with mental health or substance use issues.

Many people with mental illness say that the stigma associated with their disorder is often as hard (if not harder) to deal with than the symptoms of their illness. They often feel judged, embarrassed, shamed and hated by others because of their illness.

You can reduce stigma by:

Don't SayDo Say
Committed suicide Died by suicide
Cutter / emo Self-harm
A phase A mental illness

Community support is an important factor in reducing the stigma. We encourage you to stand up and pledge your support to shatter the stigma.

Stand up and pledge your support, Shatter the Stigma

"KNOW Mental Health, NO Stigma" Postcard Campaign

At the start of 2014, youth from REACT developed a campaign with the end goal being the inclusion of mental health education into the Grade 9 Health and Physical Education Curriculum. REACT would like to thank everyone who signed in support of the campaign, and especially the people, media outlets, and events who helped make the campaign the success it was. In response to the release of the 2015 edition of the curriculum REACT is pleased to see mental health education embedded across the curriculum. Many groups worked together to call for change, and their goal was achieved. Thank you again to all who supported this campaign.

Support Available in Niagara

If you or a friend is struggling, help is available nearby. School nurses and family doctors are great resources to help you.

There are many organizations in Niagara that are dedicated to improving mental health and provide confidential counseling services, including:

More Information

For more information on mental health and mental illness please refer to the following websites: