Health & Wellness

Coming Out of the Dark - World Mental Health Awareness Day

Ellyl-Faith Llavore

We all have been there – the days where we don’t want to get out of bed, the overwhelming waves of emotions ranging from sadness, anxiety, sleepless nights to even fits of sobbing and a loss of control.  Whether it be from a bad break up, to a loss of someone important, stress in our job or even our personal life – mental health has affected us on various levels.  So why does it seem so shocking to hear that there is an epidemic of mental health issues, diagnosis and even suicides? Let's dive in and recognize the importance of raising awareness of Mental Health.
Mental Health Awareness Day
October 10th – a day recognized around the world in creating awareness in regards to mental health and providing light on a solution for it.  As most of us know, Mental Health Awareness has rapidly grown over the last few years, mostly from the plethora of suicides - Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, Kate Spade, to name a few - and movements worldwide led by famous people around the world.  It has been brought to light so much more in the last few years, as the stigma of mental illness begins to lift, and a deeper understanding of precisely what is mental illness has come to surface.
What is Mental Illness?
When we think of mental illness, it is hard to understand that even the term “depression” and “anxiety" fall underneath that category.  Our society used to relate mental illness to conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Manic Depression Disorder, and the list goes on. However, as more and more people speak about mental health, we as a society have grown to realize that mental health is not just a diagnosis - It is an essential part of our everyday health, our cognitive, emotional and behavioural well-being. What most of us don’t realize is that our mental health affects us every day – it changes the way we feel, how we think and how we even react to situations and things.  Understanding Mental Health has become such an essential aspect of our health today. As we spend more and more hours in the day consumed with our busy schedules with stress levels rising, our mental health takes a toll.  We have all been there – finding we need to take a break.  More and more companies are allowing their employees to take what they call “mental health days” to help cope with these issues. Not only that but to also to bring awareness that our overall mental health is imperative to our overall health and emotional well being.
Why is Raising Awareness Important?
It is essential to acknowledge and understand that mental health can manifest and display differently in everyone.  Some mental health disorders need treatment, whether it's through therapy and medications, whereas some need to addressed and supported through meditation, yoga or calming activities to bring our stress levels down.  It is different for everyone, and it is imperative to recognize that there is not just “one type” of mental illness.  Below are a few signs of mental health concerns that people often overlook:
  • Depression
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Crying episodes/ sadness
  • Loss of motivation or drive
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia/lack of sleep
  • Inability to cope
  • Constant sleeping
  • Eating disorders ( anorexia, binging )
If you find yourself experiencing any of those symptoms on a regular occasion – make sure to reach out to someone.  Often we feel compelled to keep our feelings inside; we feel estranged and different however the purpose of Mental Health awareness is to break that stigma.
It is vital in our everyday lives to be mindful of how we are feeling, coping and dealing with all aspects of our lives.  As a nutritionist , I always like to tell my clients to create a balance in their lives , to take some “me" time , to feed our body with good wholesome and nutritious foods, to get a good nights rest and to support our adrenal glands (our bodies’ stress hormone cortisol is produced in these glands) as much as we can.  Stress plays such a huge role in our mental health, and it is critical when we think about our mental health. I encourage you all to decompress, relax and try to find time to care for your “ mental health”  daily.  A few of my favourite things include a hot bath, reading a book, a flow yoga class, trail running and sipping on a cup of Organika's Bone Broth powder or even my favourite, Enhanced Collagen Relax. Your mental health is a balance, and finding what works best for you is the key.   – Chelan Wilkins, RHN – National Education Trainer