Smoky River Family and Community Support Services – In Focus

Jean Moore-Lemoine
Community Development/Home Support Coordinator

Mental Health Services a Growing Concern

It takes courage to admit you have an illness and even more courage when you have a mental illness. It is even harder to admit we need help! However, as in most of life, we need someone we can talk to, someone who will help us find the best way to go. During the course of a lifetime, everyone will either have a mental illness or know someone who does. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experience a mental health problem or illness. However, only one in three of these people report they sought and received help. Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental health issues can range from postpartum depression, anxiety, addiction, depression and behavior disorders. Mental health is still feared and misunderstood but, mental illness is an illness just as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and, just like these illnesses, you will need help to cope. It is not always easy to get help as there is a huge shortage of mental health professionals, especially in rural areas.

People will sometimes misunderstand and be critical but it is important for you, as an individual, to take charge and seek help. About half of Alberta adults who experienced at least one addiction or mental health problem are estimated to have unmet service needs. Therefore, it is very important for the individual to have family and friend support when going through a difficult time. Remember, mental health illnesses, like any other illness, needs support and treatment. You cannot get healthier if you do not seek help. You can say “I need Help”. You can get help.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health illness, you can call the Alberta Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 24 hours a day. There is also a drop-in clinic in Peace River every Thursday from 11:30AM – 6:45PM. And, watch for local events that provide mental health information and referrals.


Share this post