Mental health/Mental Well-being are the buzzwords that we have been hearing. Unfortunately, because they are buzzwords, we can decide to ignore them and think they don’t concern us or even consider them Eurocentric.
We assume mental health or well-being is something only to be concerned about when someone is in a visibly distressed space, such as schizophrenia, self-harm or suicide attempts.
Those are indeed things we do need to be concerned about. Still, it’s important to remember that we and our youth often arrive at those places because mental well-being has been ignored or there has been neglect of regular preventative mental health and self-care measures.
Mental health or well-being is not just a ‘white thing’ or ‘rich people thing.’ The painful side of the mental health continuum is affecting black communities, especially black youth, at an alarming rate.
According to a 2020 Statistics Canada Survey on mental health during the pandemic:
- 27.9% of Black visible-minority respondents, compared to 22.9% of White respondents, reported fair/poor self-rated mental health.
- 32% of Black visible-minority respondents, compared to 24.2% of White respondents, reported symptoms consistent with moderate/severe generalized anxiety disorder.
- 37.5% of Black visible-minority respondents, compared to 22.1% of White respondents, reported COVID-19-related financial insecurity.
Additionally, according to the CDC
- More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.
- 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
So I don’t tell you this, dear readers, to make you feel helpless. As we go into the summer months, there are many options to sustain you and your loved one’s mental well-being.
Besides, having fun, and keeping your kids mentally healthy, there are some free local resources and recommended ways to keep your mental health in good shape!
Connect with others & be physically active
- You can do them simultaneously at places like the Africa Centre.
They have various fun, informative events – such as paint nights to teach coping through art. They also offer free counselling (even if you don’t think you need counselling, think of it as talking to an unbiased friend).
- What about dropping your kids off at the free summer camp program or getting a mentor? You can take a break to do things you want to do, and they can get a break from you while engaging in the community because your mental well-being affects their mental health.
Learn new skills
- The Edmonton Public Library offers a variety of complimentary classes at https://www.epl.ca/life-skills/
- I love volunteering, especially in our summers. You can see a great event, have free food, and meet new friends – all while giving to charity.
Being present (mindfulness)
- This one is hard because it is easy to be mad at yourself for not sitting still. However, being present isn’t just sitting still. Start small and try a 10-minute gratitude meditation video on youtube or even watch a TikTok by Simone Saunders @thecognitivecorner.
For more about Odion Welch, please visit: www.odionwelch.com