Mental health advocates want people to ‘bounce back’

NANAIMO – A new campaign is aimed at getting people to talk about mental illness early.

We all have bad days, even bad weeks. Life takes its toll on all of us causing occasional sleepless nights, changes in appetite and mood.

But what if they persist and those symptoms are in fact the early signs of something more serious? Often we dismiss the early symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders as something that will pass – part of life’s ups and downs. However, when it comes to mental health, it is important to recognize the signs of problems and intervene early before they have a negative impact on our quality of life.

With early intervention in mind the Canadian Mental Health Association, B.C. Division launched Bounce Back Today, a new campaign aimed at improving the mental health of British Columbians by inviting them to check in on their mental health at www.bouncebacktoday.ca.

“When caught early, and coupled with the right treatment, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorder are very treatable” said Bev Gutray, chief executive officer for the association.

Bounce Back Today is aimed at promoting positive mental health among British Columbians. The association hopes that the advertising campaign will connect with those for whom mental health is not even on their radar.

Many mental health problems can actually look like ordinary behaviour taken too far. For example, the occasional sleepless night is not unusual. However, a week of sleepless nights may be an indicator of depression or an anxiety disorder. Similarly, we all get emotional over a sad news story or a movie from time to time. But, if we are finding ourselves getting upset frequently and over small things that wouldn’t usually upset us, depression may be at work.

When people go to the Bounce Back Today website they are invited to check in on their mental health with a short, anonymous quiz.

Depending on the answers selected, suggested next steps can include review of tip sheets and recommendations for maintaining good mental health.

Some people may need more support and the association can direct them to the ones that are most appropriate, such as access to CMHA B.C. programs including Bounce Back Online, a free, evidence-based self-help program which uses proven techniques from an approach known as cognitive-behavioural therapy to help adults overcome symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, stress or anxiety.

Living Life to the Full is a low-cost interactive community-based course providing simple, practical skills for coping with stress, problem solving and boosting good mood.

Consult a doctor to discuss further supports and resources including an enhanced Bounce Back program which includes coaching support.