Canadian Mental Health Association

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About the CMHA

"Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. CMHA is a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory. They provide advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses. CMHA supports recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive."

They provide services and supports to over 1.3 million Canadians. This is no small effort! It is through the combined efforts of more than 5,000 staff and 11,000 volunteers. They work from 1 national office, 11 divisions in all provinces and one territory, and 75 community-based branches/regions.

100 years at the forefront

CMHA's mental health fast facts

Who is affected?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem/illness.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?

  • By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • 49% of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never seen a doctor about it.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier.

The economic cost

  • The 1998 economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be $7.9 billion. Cost of care: $4.7 billion care. $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for untreated depression and distress.

How does it impact youth?

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected. This allows them to get back to their regular activities.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children. Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents. 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group. It affects an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

Ready to give?

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Brene Brown – Empathy

Seasons, stressors, community

Brene Brown touches into something we deeply understand. Particularly at this time of year. 'Tis the season for a lot of holly jolly - and a good deal of facing into the loss of loved ones, loneliness, and "What do I really want?" uncertainty. If we're not already practicing it, this is a good time to start being an empathetic presence in one another's lives.

Brown and other mental health professionals and researchers are expanding their work into study around how we might thrive. Resilience work and positive psychology (more than just thinking positively) have found their way into practice, and that's good news for all of us.

Building our empathy muscle

A friend recently gave me the book, "There's no Good Card for This." For a gently playful smack upside the head on how-to empathy, this is a good resource. It provides the basics on caring for loved ones when things go side ways. Bonus? There's guidance on how to care for Self while compassionately supporting others.

If a book feels like a stretch, WikiHow has some excellent pointers on reaching out, and caring for self, too. In part one of their Wiki article, "Connecting with others through empathy," they offer six helpful and creative tools for moving from compassionate thought to loving action.

I particularly love part two, though: Building up your empathy. There they offer 7 ways to effectively and sustainably work this muscle. They suggest practicing curiosity, volunteering, and challenging your own prejudice. The challenge? Think outside of the box you've comfortably settled into. See the world from the perspective of your loved one, the stranger on the bus, your friend who's struggling. They go on to name things like meditation and actually attempting to walk a mile in another person's "shoes" (life experience).

We're in this together

Give Brene Brown a listen. Read Crowe/McDowell's book on empathy, or give that Wiki article a glance. Set yourself up to show yourself, and the people you care about, a little empathy this holiday season.

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Funny | Some Laughs to Ward Off the Early Chill

Funny is a good go-to on chill days in our Canadian autumn. For some, the winter blahs are no laughing matter. Seeking out the silly, the light-hearted, and the goofy can be good medicine all through a long winter.

Funny Fan of the Night

Bull riding isn't a sport we'd typically fall asleep at. But one hard-working dive master couldn't keep his eyes open.

"Lookit how it goes to us!"

McIntyre on raising kids

Keeping it light

A little bit of funny can go a long way when the daily news is grinding you down. Duty and making ends meet can get wearing. So, find a laugh or two each day to indulge.

Charlie Chaplin said, "A day without laughter is wasted." Are there ways that you can add levity to your life? To the lives of others around you?

I'm not a social media gal, but I have friends who regularly send me a quick text with a meme, link, or comic that brings a laugh. They're small effort can reap big reward in my frame of mind. Are there sites and sources that you go to for a giggle? Share them and spread the smile.

'Need a little help finding something new to laugh at?

Check out The Awkward Yeti and their "Heart and Brain" comic strips.

Curious about some of the science of why we laugh at all? BBC offers a glimpse into why we giggle.

Whatever your style of humor, may you find something to tickle your funny bone today!

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Autumn Colors

Autumn colors abound. We've just celebrated the first day of our 2019 Canadian Fall. Warm air, brilliant hues, and good strong winds to lean into.

Autumn colors

TripSavvy Top 10 Fall color spots

Autumn colors, coast to coast, are highlighted in TripSavvy's article by Jane McLean, Best Places to See Fall Colors in Canada. Explore our country and what it has to offer in the prairies, by the ocean, and in the mountains. Our forests are breathtaking at this time of year!

Putting on the Autumn kilometers

I have the happy luck of living near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Tonight's walk took me out to tromp in the foothills.
In a short 45 minute trek along the winding, hilly paths of Glenbow Ranch, my friend and I were witness to a dozen blue birds, ambling deer, and the distant howl of coyotes. Bear tracks were everywhere, so carefully spaced by a determined lord of the foothills. Our elevation gave us a perfect line of sight on a farmer's combining precision (such straight lines!). And my friend's dog, Chippy, gleefully sniffed all the sniffs in the prairie grasses lining the paths.

The colors in the park run red, yellow, orange, and countless greens. Berries and seeds grace varied plant life -- they, too, exploding in whites, greens, reds, and oranges. The sun set as we climbed our last kilometer. The grace of hills shrouded in one another's shadows, while some of their faces basked a few extra minutes in the evening light, was palpable.

Breathe deep. Enjoy the vibrancy and artistry of Mother Nature as autumn winds us toward winter's cozy at-home-ness.

Breaking News | When it’s in MBY

The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world. ~R. Rohr~

Breaking news close to home

This has been an unusual week in our household. Typically, effects of shootings and other violent crime are far removed from us. We can offer our version of "thoughts and prayers" alongside those of other relatively unaffected citizens. This week, a shooting at a local mall felt very close to home, and it has us talking.

One of our adult sons works in media management for a North America-wide retail store. When word of an "active shooter" reached him on a Monday evening in September, he jumped to action. He and his (wholly untrained) co-workers promptly locked the store down. They escorted customers safely out through a controlled entrance, and found their own way to safety in good time.

The first I heard about it was in the laundry room. My grown-up boy quietly came up the stairs to where I was sorting and began with, "I've had quite a day. It didn't shorten my shift, or anything," (Oh, the details we offer when we're in shock.) "but there was a shooting at the mall today."

Sometimes you just need eggs

And from there the story unfolded. As shock wore off and his body started to adjust from the grip of Adrenalin, problem solving, and emergency response, he wobbled. "I was fine, Mom. Fine. I did everything right. But this was pretty close to home." We breathed a little. He took a minute for solitude and quiet and weeping, and then obeyed my command to come downstairs and "...eat some eggs!" Once at the kitchen island, head lowered in exhaustion, his first words were, "Nothing even happened to me."

But of course something happened "to him." He wasn't threatened with a gun, or grazed by a bullet. Nor did he have direct contact with the police officers securing the mall. He was not physically harmed in any way. But something most certainly happened to him. Our conversation last night brought the wobble to the surface again, and I watched him wrestle with his emotions: he has been impacted by this.

A non-anxious presence in an anxious world

The victim of Monday's attack, and the lives of every patron and mall employee in the vicinity of that shooting are forever altered. The life of the shooter is changed. One more thread of our society's fabric has been tugged on. First responders to the scene that day will never go to work the same way again. And they may not go to the mall the same way, either. My own family's experience is a gentle story of the impact of the anxiety, rage, hostility, and just-beneath-the-surface tendency to violence that some of our fellows are experiencing.

When Rohr says, The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world, we can draw both comfort and caution.

Our intentions, our habits, our way of being in the world? It matters. If we are challenging our own implicit biases, and broadening our understanding of humanity and belief, we will contribute to peace and goodness broadly. When we nurture hate and small mindedness? Well, that's what we'll put out into the world.

If we tend to our own interior life with compassion and patience and quiet, we may find that is what we have to offer others around us. A person who does violence has turned, first, on himself. Fear and anger are in the driver's seat; the narrative in that mind is one of self-preservation and survival. There is greed and anxiety coursing through the hand that clasps that firearm.

What would it be like to be persuaded of the value of all people? The right to dignity and safety. The right to life. What if that offering of dignity begins with how we view the value of our own "wild and precious life" (M. Oliver)?

It's not easy being mean

As a (proud!) mama, I note the way of being of my son; I note that of the young man that wielded a firearm in a crowded mall. My son has worked diligently, effortfully to cultivate a life of goodness, gentleness, peace, patience. He hasn't been haphazard about this. He's thought about who he wants to be as a man; he's made consistent choices to practice a way of being that is non-anxious. "But it's hard, Mom. I feel all the feelings. Like, I can handle these crisis situations really well, but the after effects? They're terrible." And yet, he holds. He remains true to his values.

The young boy (because he was just a boy) that decided that an act of violence was the solution to his own struggle has a different process. A thousand factors and choices brought him to the mall with a gun that day. Doubtless, there has been deep suffering in his life. Certainly he has not had the know-how of applying himself to serious self-assessment and character work. But maybe this will be a changing time for him? Maybe he, too, will consider who he wants to be, how he wants to be, in this one short life? Perhaps he can shift his inward gaze to a gentler, safer, more compassionate lens, and thereby alter his footprint in the world.

I lean into the end of the week taking a little stock of what my own self-care/other-care way of being really is. Is that way altered when breaking news violence vibrates the strings of my family web? Are there ways that I can extend deeper kindness and compassion more broadly? Perhaps if I look more tenderly on myself my gaze upon the world be softer, too.

Canadian Music Therapy Fund

Canadian Music Therapy Fund |Charity of the Month

The Canadian Music Therapy Fund (CMTF) wishes to create access to music therapy for Canadians who need it most.

They bring music therapy and therapists to rural, urban and remote communities from coast-to-coast. Their work brings music programs to people on the autism spectrum, and to those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Further, they engage those challenged by anxiety and depression. CMTF also reaches Canadians rehabilitating speech or motor skills, as well as those needing pre- and post-natal care, or living with a brain injury.

Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund
Canadian Music Therapy Fund

CMTF does this by awarding grants, scholarships and fellowships to innovative certified music therapists. As a result, these therapist are then empowered! They use their talents and expertise to make music therapy accessible within their communities.

Work that matters

The Science is in: music therapy works. However, music therapy is not a widely recognized form of therapy. It is seldom funded by private insurance or government programs. This means that, for the most part, if you can't pay for it, you cannot access it.

Music therapy helps us to move and communicate, to cope, to better understand ourselves and to reach our full potential. CMTF wants to make music therapy available to anyone who needs it.

Together, they are transforming lives. With your support, access to music therapy for all Canadians is possible!

Help the CMTF hit the high notes

Donate your car through our program today and choose our charity of the month as your donation recipient!

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Compassion

Rumi on compassion

My dear heart, never think you are better than others. Listen to their sorrows with compassion. If you want peace, don't harbor bad thoughts, do not gossip and don't teach what you do not know.

In compassion and grace, be like the sun...
In generosity and helping others, be like a river...

Listen with ears of tolerance! See through the eyes of compassion! Speak with the language of love.

Psychology Today

Beverly Engel's article, "What is compassion and how can it improve my life?" notes that, "...instead of assuming that the reason someone has done something that hurts you is because they are selfish or inconsiderate, assume instead that they had a good reason for doing it...". This extension of the definition takes us beyond a confusion between empathy and compassion, and into even broader understanding. What if my assumptions about your behavior toward me are incorrect? What if I've presumed something about your motives, your thoughts, or your feelings are way off?

My filters get a little foggy from time-to-time. It's easy for me to assume that someone I love means me no harm and had good intentions in her treatment of me. It's not much of a reach to presume that someone who's not my biggest fan might wish me ill. It's probable that neither were actually thinking about me that much at all. Sometimes people are just distracted, or caught up in their own stuff. I know when I get that way I can be insensitive or just plain checked-out. Compassion allows me to expect the best from my others.

And when in doubt? It doesn't take much to check-in with a, "Hey, I noticed you didn't say thank you for that amazing lasagna I made for dinner. 'You ok?" You might get an abashed, "Sorry! Great dinner!" Or you may learn that some things went down that need a little tending.

Power Lifter on Pause

Our power house of a human, power lifter Ryan Lapadat, has a strong start to his enormous charity-awareness effort. A strong beginning. And then...a bit of a bump in the proceedings...

Lapadat won't quit

You've been following along and you know that our favorite power lifter, Ryan Six Pack Lapadat, is tackling a 143 day, 100+ charity promoting challenge of car flipping. Well, being a soft-bodied animal, as we all are, Ryan's body has asked to slow things down a little. He's torn a calf muscle and isn't bouncing back as quickly as he hoped.

Here's what we know from Ryan (emphasis...and a little punctuation tweeking, mine):

"Here is a brief update:

Yesterday I partially tore my right calf while flipping the car. It felt like a pop, loss of strength, then I couldn't walk on it. Very painful. I am walking with a limp now.

But it would hurt me more to quit. And I know that. So today, I stepped up to the car and flipped it again, and I intended to keep flipping this car. Things do not always get worst. Sometimes they get better. Keep the faith.

I will adjust to keep this going. Terry Fox only had one leg anyway.

To make the car easier to flip with my torn calf I have found flipping from the roof to the wheels is easiest. This is because I can grab the window ledges and flip it. The window ledges are higher up than the handle we put on it, and I do not have to bend my injured right leg.

This is day 9. We have 143 days. This is early days. By the time we reach 100 days this story could really get interesting."

What this means for the challenge

That was a few days ago. But Ryan needs to give his calf time to heal. As a power lifter, his body is a well-tuned instrument and the source of his livelihood.

The determination, creativity, and all-around drive Six Pack bring to this are the stuff of inspiration. You know where he's coming from: sometimes life knocks you flat. Or, it throws you a little off course, at least. Ryan's not fazed. And we're excited to see how this pause in the process leads to renewed health and energy for the challenge.

Lapadat hopes to pick up where he left off sometime early in October. We're on board with that and will be pulling for a full and power lifter worthy return to recovery.

Keep watching here for updates. The links for Ryan's Twitter and Instagram are in previous posts as well -- he's an inspiring guy to follow around! We're proud to be working on this effort together and wish Ryan full health from head to toe.

6packlapadat | Flipping for charity

Follow DAC's favorite powerlifter

Ryan (6packlapadat) is really doing this! He's on day 18 of flipping4charity. Stifling heat, a few obstacles, and an injury won't slow this guy down. Check his Twitter feed for some of his updates.

Following Lapadat on Instagram is worth a daily check-in, too. 6packlapadat and Donate a Car Canada are excited to be promoting over 100 Canadian charities in this unique way. Does it spark you imagination? How are your unique capabilities setting you up to do your version of good in Canada? In your city? In your neighborhood?

Stay tuned on our social media platforms for daily updates on Ryan's efforts, our charity connections, and ways that you can be involved in spreading the word.

flipping4charity

What Six Pack is up to

Lapadat's daily car flip challenge is trackable via our Donate a Car Canada Twitter likes. 'Good days, or tough days, Ryan is working hard for a wide variety of Canadian charities.

Learn more about Ryan, his vision and mission, and just how much he's already tackled (and flipped) in his career, so far. Check him out at The Great Canadian Bucket List. This guy is committed to his craft and to caring for Canadians in larger-than-life ways.

Charities

Over 100 of our receiving charities are being spotlighted in Ryan's ambitious endeavor. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is in his sights. BBBS is changing lives by investing time and mentoring resources into the lives of Canadian young people. "Changing the course of young lives changes the future of communities. By every measure, BBBS returns positive results in the mental health, employment and civic engagement" of the recipients of their programs.

How to give

Follow and share Ryan "Six Pack" Lapadat's power lifting, flipping4charity efforts on Twitter. Explore ways to give to the charities that he's championing. Volunteer, offer gifts-in-kind, donate cool cash, or donate your vehicle. Every gift counts!

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