Turning up the volume on mental health

April 26, 2017

Turning up the volume on mental health

Residents are encouraged to take note of their mental health during this year’s  Mental Health Week; May 1 to 7, 2017.  This national initiative, led by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), encourages people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health.

In Strathcona County, there was a significant increase in doctor referrals for depression, anxiety and stress in 2016, compared to 2015. According to CMHA, 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Research indicates stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.

In late 2016, Strathcona County residents were asked, through ‘Community Talk’, which social priorities were important for the County to achieve. The community engagement results noted the need to increase mental health awareness and services. While stigma may prevent those who are experiencing mental health challenges from reaching out for support and assistance, accessibility and availability of services were also noted as lacking.

Community connectedness is an important component of mental health and well-being. Research indicates social isolation has damaging impacts on health, well-being, and overall quality of life. Low-income people and seniors are among the most vulnerable to social isolation. Conversely, being more socially connected has a positive influence on physical and mental health and wellbeing. All information collected from the community through these conversations will help inform the creation of a renewed social framework for Strathcona County. This framework is scheduled for Council presentation in May.

More information about Community Talk.

In the meantime, as part of the County’s ongoing efforts to nurture community connection, residents are invited to apply for community small grants funding ($500 - $1,500) towards hosting neighbourhood gatherings and/or projects that promote a sense of belonging and connection amongst residents.

In addition, various community supports, such as counselling, crisis contact numbers and home visitation programs, are available for residents in need. 

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

 

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595