By Justin Seward
The Holidays can be stressful for many, and the Canadian Mental Health has tips and programs on how to alleviate those struggles around Christmas time.
“Basically, I would just start with if there is someone looking for help or what they need to do – it begins with themselves – that’s No.1,” said Mark Walter, recovery trainer for CMHA’s Alberta southeast region.
“So, what is it going to take for the person to be healthier, to feel healthier and to do healthy things? So that’s always a challenge because sometimes we’re in the forest and we can’t see through the trees. So, stress and that is really high of course on the infancy just because of the season – it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year – but there’s pressures on everybody in various forms.”
CMHA thinks those various forms might include what gift to get for whom, can people get together because of COVID, do gatherings involve somebody they don’t get along with, addiction issues, or dealing with a possible first passing of someone in their lives.
“So, it might look more like a blue Christmas,” said Walter.
“There is (a) lot of I think helplessness and hopelessness, but again that’s because they’re in their life, in their world and it’s not looking glorious. So that kind of gives you a sum up of where it might be.”
The CMHA’s Recovery College in Lethbridge, one of seven in Alberta, offers individuals help via a boundaries course, disclosure course, confront discomfort and art of friendship programming, for free, to name a few.
“Those things will help people to maybe process, to build strategies, to help maybe rethink perspective, to give them encouragement as well and those are some of things that will help to bring people out of their mood states and depression anxieties and things they struggle with,” he said.
CMHA also offers a Keep in Touch (KIT) program, which sees volunteers call on people who might be in insolation, can’t get out, or choose not to.
“They phone people and they just have a visit or they’re a listening ear for them,” he said.
The KIT program will run through Christmas.
The Associations also offers Whispers of Wellness and Caregiver Connection.
“So the Caregiver connection are those caregivers that want to support each other and get together and then the Whispers of Wellness is basically a drop in coffee group,” he said.
There will a few local CMHA representatives available throughout the Holiday Season.
It is recommended to call 911 or go to emergency if there is a feeling of distress and call 211 to be connected to resources in their own community