Published on April 27, 2021

Reaching Out to Check-In

Every May, people in Canadian communities, schools, workplaces and legislatures rally around the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week (May 3-9). This May will be the 70th annual Mental Health Week. In past years, the City of St. Albert has asked the community to join us in a Mental Health Walk. As provincial public health measures are still in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are being asked to reach out safely to friends, family and neighbours to make sure they are doing OK.
“Mental Health Week helps to shift societal beliefs and perceptions about mental health. It helps promote behaviours and attitudes that foster well-being, support good mental health and create a culture of understanding and acceptance,” says Jennifer Becker, Community Development Coordinator. “This awareness week reduces the stigma that people feel when they experience mental health challenges by talking about mental health and self-care. Mental Health Week activities work to normalize help-seeking behaviour and reminding everyone that we all have mental health that we need to nurture.”

This Mental Health Week, the Mental Wellness Working Table, a committee made up of many agencies in St. Albert, asks that everyone “Reach Out to Check-In.” The focus for the Mental Health Walk’s campaign is on social connection.

“Connecting with other people and our communities doesn’t just feel good; it’s good for our mental health. Research shows that social contact and social support protect and promote good mental health,” adds Jennifer.

On May 7, make the Mental Health Walk your own by:

  • Walking to a friend’s house to see how they are doing. 
  • Using your favourite video chat platform to connect with a neighbour or family member. 
  • Having a window visit with a senior. 
  • Phoning a friend you haven’t heard from in awhile. 

Taking a walk to check in with someone on May 7 will help in more ways than one. According to the Mayo Clinic, the links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren't entirely clear but working out and other forms of physical activity can ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you're feeling better.

“As the one-year mark of the COVID-19 global pandemic has passed, we need each other now more than ever. It’s time to be open about how we feel and lean on others for support,” says Jennifer. “Let’s have honest conversations with our friends, neighbours and coworkers about how we’re all doing. We all can be here for one another.” 

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Last edited: May 4, 2021