The Gleaner

Mental Health Week in Quebec

Mental Health Week was from May 6-12 in Quebec. Mental Health Week is an initiative launched by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in 1951. It always takes place the first week of May, with the goal of changing attitudes and perceptions about mental health.

This year, the Projet collectif en inclusion à Montréal (PCEIM) called for the reconsideration of how we approach and treat mental health in Quebec. Instead of focusing on individual pathology, they urged that the approach be relational and intersectional, instead of just trying to treat people once they have already become distressed.

“We need to understand mental disorders, and mental health itself, as problems situated at the level of interactions, relationships, and collective dynamics, rather than as strictly individual issues,” emphasizes David Castrillon, the executive director of PCEIM.

The Comité Détresse Sociale du Haut-Saint-Laurent also noted the importance of dealing with mental health in our community. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Week was “Cultivating Compassion,” which focused on how we can be kind to each other on a day-to-day basis. It emphasizes that with the state of society right now, it’s a time of high stress and anxiety for everyone. With people experiencing social inequalities, the affordability crisis, political divides, and persistent concerns about climate change, it’s important to have compassion for yourself and others.

The committee organized three activities this year. These included a “hug tour” organized by Anchors and Wings on May 10 in Ormstown, with the mascot Câlinours. A CommuniT Night activity took place on May 14 at Heritage Elementary School in Huntingdon, where visitors were invited to move, learn about the benefits of physical activity, and meet with many local organizations, including some that work in mental health. Finally, members of the committee will be present during the Huntingdon County Farmers Market on May 22 from 3 to 6 p.m. where they will be sharing more information about Cultivating Compassion.

These activities were made possible by Huntingdon MNA Carole Mallette, Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille, and the Réseau Les Éclaireurs.

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