Pla­cen­tia event helps pro­mote healthy minds

The Compass - - NEWS - BY LEE EVERTS

On May 6, res­i­dents of com­mu­ni­ties from around the Pla­cen­tia area and Cape Shore gath­ered at the Royal Cana­dian Legion, Branch No. 33 in the Town of Pla­cen­tia to rec­og­nize Men­tal Health Week. The well-at­tended event was hosted by the Pla­cen­tia Area-Cape Shore Com­mu­nity Con­nec­tions (PCCC).

For sev­eral years, the PCCC has hosted var­i­ous events to rec­og­nize Men­tal Health Week. The guid­ing goal of the PCCC is to work with in­di­vid­u­als and groups in or­der to strengthen the health of our com­mu­ni­ties. For sev­eral years, the par­tic­u­lar fo­cus has been on men­tal health and well-be­ing. Such an ob­jec­tive per­fectly chimes with the idea of Men­tal Health Week.

Since 1951, the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion has com­mem­o­rated Men­tal Health Week. The goal of the week is to spread the word about leading a men­tally healthy life­style. The PCCC chose to share the im­por­tance of men­tal health at a sup­per for the res­i­dents of the com­mu­ni­ties in the Pla­cen­tia area and Cape Shore.

To be­gin the evening, Mayor Wayne Power of the Town of Pla­cen­tia pro­claimed May 5-11 as Men­tal Health Week. And then, the de­light­ful sounds of laugh­ter and chat­ter punc­tu­ated the evening as ev­ery­one tucked into a scrump­tious meal pre­pared by the mem­bers of the Royal Cana­dian Legion, Branch No. 33.

Fol­low­ing the meal, Priscilla Cor­co­ran Mooney of the PCCC wel­comed Theresa Ryan, who gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on anx­i­ety, an is­sue with which many can iden­tify. This topic plays a fea­ture role in what hap­pened to be the fo­cus for Men­tal Health Week — women’s men­tal health.

Women ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal health prob­lems in a dif­fer­ent way than men. While men may have a higher rate of ad­dic­tion, women have a higher pre­dom­i­nance of mood and anx­i­ety dis­or­ders. Theresa Ryan has worked in pas­toral care and men­tal health coun­selling for years and was happy to share her thoughts on this some­times un­wel­come chal­lenge to good men­tal health.

Ryan ex­plained how anx­i­ety is some­thing that crosses all lines such as age and sex. Al­though it is more preva­lent in women, the ques­tion re­mains as to whether that dif­fer­ence is sim­ply be­cause women are more likely to ex­press the prob­lem than men. Re­gard­less, anx­i­ety is some­thing that can fea­ture in our lives for var­i­ous rea­sons. It can be a ge­netic in­her­i­tance or due to a med­i­cal con­di­tion, as well as be­ing the re­sult of spe­cific med­i­ca­tions, caf­feine, or al­co­hol. Other­wise, anx­i­ety may be caused by a par­tic­u­larly trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence.

One of the hall­mark symp­toms of anx­i­ety is an ir­ra­tional and ex­ces­sive fear, al­most a feel­ing of dread. Not all anx­i­ety is nec­es­sar­ily bad, though. At times, it can mo­ti­vate our ac­tions. How­ever, when it be­gins to se­ri­ously and neg­a­tively im­pact our lives, it hin­ders our men­tal health. At these times, it is best to seek help.

Al­beit po­ten­tially se­ri­ous, Ryan as­sured those in at­ten­dance that in many in­stances, it is pos­si­ble to calm feel­ings of anx­i­ety. It could be a mat­ter of chang­ing one’s diet, ex­er­cise, be­ing pos­i­tive when talk­ing with one­self, or sim­ply tak­ing a bit of time to re­lax. Our men­tal health will be sure to ben­e­fit.

Given the ques­tions and com­ments af­ter her talk, Ryan’s words were no doubt food for thought. Af­ter all, whether it is a men­tal ill­ness or just a bad day, ev­ery­one has “men­tal health is­sues.” That is nor­mal. To learn more, take a mo­ment to visit http://www.un­der­stand­now.ca/.

— Lee Everts can be reached at the fol­low­ing: lee.everts@nf.sym­pa­tico.ca

Photo by Lee Everts/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

Theresa Ryan is seen speak­ing dur­ing a Men­tal Health Week event in Pla­cen­tia on May 6.

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