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. You can suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, addiction, depression and behavior disorders. Mental health issues are 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.
People will sometimes misunderstand and be critical but it is important for you, as an individual, to take charge and seek help. It takes courage to admit you have an illness and even more courage to seek 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.
It is not always easy to get help as there is a shortage of professionals, especially in rural areas. About half of the 21,000 per 100,000 Alberta adults who experienced at least one addition 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 11:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.