Time for a mental health check-in?
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | August 10, 2017|
This week, Point in Time and Haliburton Highlands Mental Health Services sent out a public service announcement.
They’d like to remind the community that they provide quick and supportive access to mental health and counseling services.
We caught up with Point in Time’s Dan Bajorek yesterday.
He explained that they’ve timed the message for back-to-school season, because some struggle with mental health issues and the start of the school year can be particularly challenging.
However, it’s a timely reminder for all of us of the need for mental health check-ins. Mental health issues often build over an extended period of time, but they can also appear suddenly, especially in response to a physical or mental trauma. We should be prepared.
So how do we do that?
We’re a pretty private community in some ways. Counselling can be seen as a threat to some of us. We feel there’s nothing wrong. We can handle it. Or we should be able to handle it. We don’t want to be perceived as weak.
Others don’t want a counsellor getting involved in their family affairs. For example, a husband may feel threatened by the prospect of his wife going to counselling. He may fear that something will come up. Perhaps she’s not happy. What if she decides to leave him? Maybe some of us are just worried about being seen going into a place of counselling.
No doubt the stigma around mental health remains.
Bajorek, who’s been counselling for more than 40 years, says the prospect of going to counselling can be daunting, but that shouldn’t stop you.
In some ways, younger people are embracing the need for help much better than adults. While social media can be problematic for teens, it also offers information on how to cope. But they still need local help.
With autumn just around the corner, and kids going back to school, Bajorek asks us to keep our eyes and ears open.
Young people sometimes show signs they're in trouble. Maybe they’ve been looking sad. Maybe they’ve withdrawn from friends, sports and other activities they usually enjoy. Some parents are uncomfortable asking their kids if they're alright, but they have to try. Don’t let your kid flippantly tell you everything is fine when your gut instinct tells you it isn’t.
Unfortunately, sometimes there's no sign at all. Both children and adults are often reluctant to share their worst feelings with others. They don't want to upset them, to appear needy and not in control. Getting friends and family members to feel comfortable talking about their mental health is sometimes awkward, but it's important to let others know it's a safe topic for discussion.
Parents need a mental health check-in from time to time, too. At-risk adults need to see counsellors, not just dump issues onto their spouses. It might take just one session to get the help you need. If it takes more, you may be grateful for the opportunity to sort through some painful problems with someone who is trained to listen and help.
Other local services include the Canadian Mental Health Association, SIRCH, and the Children’s Aid Society.
Any of us can be on that slippery slope. We have that one very bad day. We lose a partner or a job or are forced to leave our home. Things look bleak. It’s okay. You’re not alone. Help is here for you.
If you’re concerned about the mental health of your child or youth, give Point in Time a call at 705-457-5345. Kids can call them directly. For adults in need of mental health supports please call Haliburton Highlands Mental Health Services at 705-286-4575.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.