Mental Health 101
If I had to pick one thing to work on that crosses the silos of medicine and good health it would be resilience. Mental health is so multifactorial: good or bad things that have happened to you, the quality of your social network, your genes, your learned coping strategies, etc.
I see many opportunities here but three good starting points are…
1 – Go back to basics: Sometimes we medicalize a crap week. And if it’s been a crap month or two we tend to forget the basics. Here is my two minute advice
2 – Train your brain to interpret and respond in a healthy way: As Victor Frankl says, “There is a space between stimulus and response. In that space is our power to choose our response.” We all cognitively distort. We all respond in emotional ways. Learning how to manage this better should be like getting a drivers license for your life. Two skills that I highly recommend you look at developing are CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and mindfulness.
A good first step is picking a workbook from this online book-seller here
Some classics are:
There are also many free courses available online. Here’s one called MoodGYM.
For a simple but practical overview of mindfulness have a look at this PDF and audio series.
And of course, seeing an expert in CBT is highly recommended
3 – Figure out whether you have something more serious going on. Here is a selection of screeners. I would start by selecting PHQ (it’s the longest one) and complete it. If you’ve got a few “yes”, take the completed form into your doctor to discuss next steps.
That’s my tool-kit for getting started. We’ve also added more EHL mental health videos and podcasts as well as other resources we like below. Make sure to let us know what great stuff you’ve found that we’ve missed!
||What's this "90:10" thing? Find out what the title means and get some useful, practical advice to help you cope with stress by checking out our whiteboard video.|
|Happiness: Is there any science to it?
||Dr. Mike talks to CBC Fresh Air's Mary Ito about the science of happiness.|
|Laughter as Therapy - A Fresh Air Podcast
|| Laugh yourself silly...or, should that be healthy? Actually that's not as silly as it sounds, not with the increasing attention being paid to laughter as a form of health therapy.|
|Mind Over Matter - A Fresh Air Podcast
||In this podcast Dr. Mike talks to Mary Ito about how much the way we think can have big effects on all sorts of aspects of our health - including how we age!|
The Best of the Rest
|An infographic guide to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
||A "crash course" in CBT from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) which explains what CBT is and what it looks like in practice.
||A colourful, easy to understand summary of CBT. Really like the board game imagery used to describe the treatment process. Very creative!|
|Check Up From the Neck UP
||This simple, online, private, mental health check-up can identify some symptoms of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder so you can get help if you need it. You can also learn more about mood disorders and find resources.
||Simple but has some excellent multimedia resources and interactive tools (like the one we linked to in this section). Love that they include videos of patients talking about their experiences and put lots of emphasis on peer-to-peer support.|
|An expert talks about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
||In this video (at the bottom of the page) from the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS), Professor David Clark explains how CBT works and who could benefit from it
||Like the way this British professor explains clearly and straightforwardly what patients can expect from CBT. In a short time he manages to answer a number of frequently asked questions about the treatment. |
|Mental Health vs Physical Health
||This video from Delisle Youth Services features young people talking about the different ways we approach physical and mental health and the stigma surrounding mental illness.
||These are some pretty wise teenagers. Lots of thoughtful comments about how mental and physical health intersect and some great ideas for how people can look after both.|