It’s important that supporting people through mental illness considers all the factors involved. Encompas provides support and treatment for many different conditions which include (but are not limited to) the following mental health challenges, to help people overcome their challenges, and achieve mental wellness.
What is Addiction?
When life spins out of control, sometimes there is an urge to look outside of yourself for something to make it feel better because the challenges seem too overwhelming to face. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol or gambling, the “interventions” in which we choose to engage might make us feel better quickly, which can make it seem like our intervention is working. You might feel as though the activity gives you more confidence, and a much-needed distraction from the challenges you’re experiencing. But sometimes these seemingly short-term solutions to life’s challenges make our lives spin even more out of control. Over time, you may need more and more of the substance or activity to make you feel better. And, you might start to experience negative changes to your body and your brain, and create significant disruption in your relationships with others, your work life, and your health.
An addiction is a strong and compulsive need to have or do something that is typically harmful to you in some way.
There are many different kinds of addictions, but the most common addictions include alcohol, drugs (prescription or recreational), gambling, sex, and shopping.
Signs of an Addiction
Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint whether there is an addiction because it can flip from healthy to unhealthy over a long period of time. There are four (4) critical questions that help clarify if an addiction is affecting you:
- Do you have cravings for the substance or activity?
- Do you lose control over the amount and frequency of use?
- Do you have an overwhelming need or compulsion to use?
- Do you use regardless of the consequences to yourself and others?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to get more information about dealing with addictions and unwanted behaviours.
The first step to any addiction is recognizing and admitting that something is wrong. Having an awareness of the issue allows you to make decisions about how you’re going to move forward towards resolving it.
Encompas has specially trained mental health professionals who can provide you with counselling support; a proven, effective method for overcoming addiction. A mental health professional can help teach you the strategies needed to stop the cycle of addiction, understand the behaviour, resolve underlying challenges, and get back to thriving without the addictive substance or activity. If its appropriate, your Care Manager can help you access specialized residential treatment for addictions through our preferred provider network of residential treatment centres. `
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2020). Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/addiction
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2020). Alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/alcohol
What is Anger?
Feeling angry, upset and irritable is a normal part of life. Most of the time it’s in response to something that we perceive as wrong or unfair. In its mildest form, we may feel annoyed at someone or a situation, such as when we’re stuck in traffic. In a stronger form, we may feel rage at an injustice done to us or a loved one.
However, normal anger is usually something that we’re able to resolve; whether that means looking at a situation differently to change our perspective, or giving ourselves space and time from an upsetting situation before re-approaching the issue. But sometimes anger can be a destructive emotion that negatively impacts our ability to communicate, our relationships, our jobs, and our health.
Different Forms of Anger
There are three general types of anger that can negatively impact our lives. These include:
- Outward Anger (otherwise known as explosive anger): Often comes in the form of yelling and screaming at others. It is when you often feel out of control of your emotions and often say things that are hurtful and that you regret later. At the explosive stage of anger, behaviours may include yelling, punching a wall, hitting, kicking or throwing things.
- Inward Anger: Often a less volatile form of anger and can often go unnoticed. Inward anger is when the emotion is turned inward. Instead of blaming others (as we do in outward/explosive anger) we blame ourselves and often experience anger towards ourselves. By monitoring our self-talk, we’re able to note the negative things we think and say about ourselves.
- Passive Aggressiveness (otherwise known as sneaky anger): Can be extremely destructive in relationships as it is often difficult for others to pinpoint your intentions during conversation. Passive aggressiveness often has us doing something to “get back” at someone else through anger, such as ignoring another person, accidentally burning their supper, “forgetting” to pick up the coffee that was requested.
Signs that Anger is a Problem
Here are some common signs that your anger is outside of the normal range of everyday emotions:
- Frequent anger
- Loss of enjoyment of previous interests and activities
- Caused by something that happened in the distant past
- Stronger than is warranted based on the situation
- Creating issues in your relationships with others
- Impairing your ability to communicate effectively
- Interfering with your ability to do your job
- Affects your physical health
- Loss of control; angry outbursts
- Noticed by others
Anger Management Options
There are options for resolving issues with anger. Some of the activities may include:
Separate emotion from behaviour: Learn to identify anger the emotion (normal, healthy) versus anger the behaviour (yelling, shouting, hitting).
Identify your emotional triggers: The more you can recognize the scenarios that are most likely to trigger an anger response, the easier it becomes to predict the behaviour and start to do something about it.
Learn your personal anger symptoms: When we experience anger there is often a change in our breathing patterns, our muscles may tense up, and there may be a pit in our stomach. Create your own personal symptom chart. The more you can understand your symptoms, the easier it is for you to control them.
Don’t let anger take a hold on your life. An Encompas care manager can help you find a mental health professional trained to help you stop the cycle of anger, resolve angry behaviours, learn new coping strategies, and return to enjoying your life.
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Feeling Angry.
Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/feeling-angry/#.V1MPVJErLIU
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Worry and nervousness are feelings that we all experience from time to time. Your heart may beat faster, your face may flush, and you may have a sensation of “butterflies” in your stomach. This type of anxiety is healthy; it keeps us from entering or remaining in situations that are dangerous or threatening to our lives. This anxiety is also passing, and usually resolves itself once we’re out of the situation of danger.
Anxiety becomes a problem when you experience excessive worry and nervousness over normal, everyday things, for an extended period of time (usually more than 6 months). People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often fear the worst when it comes to relationships, finances, employment, or health. Their fear is persistent and it is not usually realistic, which causes them to experience distress that makes it hard to enjoy life.
GAD is common, and can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and socioeconomic status. GAD is caused by a variety of factors, including your brain chemistry, a buildup of stressful life events, and certain predisposing personality traits.
There are several symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, including:
- Sleep difficulties
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and gastrointestinal issues
- Racing heart
- Difficulty concentrating and/or focusing
Without treatment, the symptoms of GAD may continue to interrupt your quality of life. However, treatment has been proven effective in supporting people with GAD to get back to enjoying life. Here are some next steps to help you get started:
- Relaxation strategies can help to decrease the physical symptoms of anxiety. The more you feel your heart racing and your breathing changing, the harder it is to calm yourself down. Try to breathe deeply.
- Counselling with a mental health provider has been proven to be very effective in helping individuals overcome Anxiety issues. Not only can a trained counsellor help teach you the strategies needed to help stop the anxiety cycle, they can also help you use them correctly.
- In severe cases one should also consult their family doctor since medication, when taken in conjunction with counselling, has often proved helpful.
An Encompas Care Manager can help connect you with a mental health professional who is a personal and cultural fit; someone who has expertise treating anxiety. Contact us today to get back to enjoying your life.
Statistics Canada. (2015). Anxiety disorders.
Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2012004/sections/sectionb-eng.htm#a4
National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Anxiety disorders.
Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
What is Depression?
Sadness is a normal part of life. Everyone feels the “blues” every now and then. Most of the time, sadness comes on as a result of a situation that happens in our lives. Sadness is typically passing, and resolves itself with time.
When you experience depression, you’re experiencing more than just passing sadness. Depression is when you feel severe despair over a long period of time. It affects all aspects of your life, including your mental health, physical health, relationships, work, and personal goals. As a hypo-arousal emotion, depression takes away your energy, making it difficult to fulfil your normal daily functions. You may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, engaging with others, finding interest in things you used to enjoy, feel worthless or hopeless, and find it hard to concentrate.
1 in 4 Canadians will experience depression at some point in their lives. It is extremely common, and can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and socioeconomic status. It is believed that many different factors cause depression, including genetics, family history, environmental factors, situational factors, personality, and physical health changes and challenges. While depression may not go away on its own, with professional support it is very treatable.
The following symptoms are common in people who experience depression:
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Feeling low self-worth
- Feelings of guilt
- Feeling hopeless
- Poor concentration and/or memory
- Sleep difficulties
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Aches and pains
Without treatment, depression can last a long time and may never be fully resolved. If you are struggling with sadness or depression, here are some next steps for you:
- Focus on what you can control. Often the tasks of getting out of bed and brushing your teeth can be huge accomplishments. Noting that you are in control of what you do can sometimes break the cycle of depressive thoughts.
- Gratitude list. Write a list of things that happened during your day that you are grateful for. Often opening up more positive pathways in our brains can be helpful.
- Counselling has been proven to be very effective in helping individuals overcome depression. Not only can a mental health professional help teach you the strategies needed to help stop the depressive cycle, they can also help you use them correctly.
- In severe cases one should also consult their family doctor since medication, when taken in conjunction with Psychotherapy, has often proved helpful.
An Encompas care manager can help connect you with a mental health professional who is a personal and cultural fit; someone who has expertise treating depression. Contact us today to get back to enjoying your life.
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2020). Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
Retrieved from https://cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/bipolar-disorder
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2020). Depression.
Retrieved from https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/depression
National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Depression.
Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
What is Family Dysfunction?
It is common for families to go through difficult times. There is no such thing as a “perfect” family, or one that never experiences any challenges. Families are complex systems made up of long-term, complex relationships. The loss of a loved one, health challenges, trauma, and financial difficulties can significantly impact family dynamics, relationships, routines, communication, and problem-solving abilities, which, left unattended, can lead to chronic family dysfunction.
Some of the common reasons why families may experience difficulties may include:
- Marital challenges (e.g., separation, divorce)
- Financial concerns
- Traumatic experiences (e.g., abuse, natural disaster, etc.)
- Mental illnesses
- Health challenges
- Loss of a loved one
While family challenges can pass on their own, most of the time they require purposeful attention and involvement of all family members to resolve difficulties and move forward in a positive way.
Signs that Something is Wrong
There are many different signs that can indicate that a family is struggling. These may include:
- Negativity and/or criticism in communication
- Lack of encouragement, and positive communication
- Non-existent communication (avoidance/ignoring)
- Frequent, non-resolved arguments
- Children being forced to take sides in arguments
- Opposition or defiance from children/teenagers
- Physical, verbal, and/or psychological abuse
Treating Family Dysfunction
Family counselling by a trained mental health professional may help to resolve the challenges your family is facing, improve communication, strengthen relationships, and build resilience in the face of stressors. Family counselling involves bringing together all members of the family, in a collaborative partnership with the counsellor, in a safe, caring, and confidential environment.
Family counselling may be able to help in a variety of ways, including:
- Identifying the common concerns and challenges
- Identifying differing needs of all family members
- Resolving the concerns and challenges
- Building positive and effective coping strategies for future stress and challenges that may arise
- Improving communication
- Forging stronger positive bonds between family members
- Building resilience
An Encompas care manager can help you and your family find a mental health professional who is a familial and cultural fit, to help restore your family to happiness.
What is Grief & Bereavement?
Over the course of our lives, we all experience grief as a result of a loss. Grief is a normal, and necessary, reaction to losses of all kinds (e.g. loss of a job, loss of finances, etc.), but usually the most troubling occurs when we experience the death of a loved one. After experiencing such loss, we may ask ourselves why this happened to us, or how we’re going to be able to make it through another day and move forward with our lives. The profound devastation, sadness, anger, confusion, and denial we experience are part of grief.
Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after we experience loss. Each person will react to and manage their grief in different ways; no two bereavement experiences are the same. There are similarities, however, that are often described as the “stages of grief”; denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance. While we may face these different experiences as a result of our bereavement process, there is no one formula, process, or specific amount of time for grief. Typically, over time, we instinctively develop new ways to cope with our loss, and our grief becomes more manageable.
Sometimes, however, we can’t adapt to our loss. This is when “grief” becomes “complicated grief”. The major signs of complicated grief include:
- Acute grief over a long period of time, as if the loss just happened
- Difficulty concentrating due to a preoccupation with the loss
- Feelings of worthlessness and meaninglessness
- Recurring feelings of being numb or in a daze
- Denial that the loss occurred
- Changes in personal relationships
- Avoiding grief altogether (e.g. avoiding anything that is a reminder of the grief)
- Engaging in self-destructive activities (e.g. alcohol, drugs, risky behaviour)
- Inability to regulate emotions
If you, or someone you know, may be experiencing complicated grief, getting proper support can help.
Grief is a powerful emotion, and bereavement can be a painful experience. However, grief and bereavement are necessary and normal experiences after loss. It is also normal to need the support of loved ones and/or professionals to move through grief in a healthy manner, and to avoid or treat complicated grief.
An Encompas care manager can help you find a mental health professional who has expertise in bereavement counselling. These professionals can help you adapt to your loss and find new and meaningful ways of living life moving forward.
Kersting, K. (2004). A new approach to complicated grief. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e308892005-033
The Center for Complicated Grief. (2020) Complicated grief. Columbia School of Social Work.
Human beings experience panic when they are in a situation of danger, triggering a normal “fight or flight” instinct to help them get out of a situation that is potentially threatening to their lives.
A panic attack, however, is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that arises without a distinct situation of danger. It is far more intense than a common feeling of being “stressed out”. Some people feel as though they are suffocating, having a heart attack, or fear they are dying. While terrifying and stressful, a panic attack is not dangerous and will go away on its own.
- racing heartbeat
- difficulty breathing, feeling as though you “can’t get enough air”
- terror that is almost paralyzing
- dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
- trembling, sweating, shaking
- choking, chest pains
- hot flashes, or sudden chills
- tingling in fingers or toes (“pins and needles”)
- fear that you’re about to die, or you’re losing touch with reality
A panic attack is marked by the following conditions:
- occurs suddenly, without warning
- level of fear is extremely high, without any environmental threat or danger
- passes within a few minutes; the body cannot sustain the “fight or flight” response for a long period of time, however, repeated attacks may continue to recur for hours.
A panic disorder is marked by repeated and unexpected panic attacks. People who are suffering from panic disorder typically fear they are going to experience more panic attacks, and as a result they avoid people, places, and situations that they have identified as potential triggers for a panic attack.
Panic disorder can be caused by, or can cause, phobias and other mental health challenges such as depression, substance abuse, and physical health complications. It ranges from mild (social impairment) to severe (complete inability to face the outside world).
If you are, or suspect that you may be, experiencing panic attacks, a mental health professional can help you build strong, positive coping strategies to resolve the challenges, and regain control of your life.
An Encompas care manager can help connect with you with a mental health professional that has experience treating panic attacks and panic disorders. Please contact us for more information.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Answers to your questions about panic disorders.
Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/panic-disorder.aspx
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Phobias and panic disorders.
Retrieved from: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/phobias-and-panic-disorders/
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Everyone experiences frightening situations in their lives. It is normal for us to feel nervous, have a hard time falling asleep, or have recurring thoughts about the situation after having experienced something frightening. The discomfort and disruption in our lives eventually go away, however, and we resume our normal lives.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is different. PTSD is a pervasive mental illness that is typically brought on by the experience of, or witnessing of, trauma associated with death, threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Traumatic events are typically unexpected, and you often feel powerless to stop or change the event.
PTSD is not always brought on by a single event. Sometimes trauma is experienced over a longer period of time, such as in cases of abuse or during war. People in certain careers, such as military personnel, first responders, and health care providers, have higher rates of PTSD due to their regular exposure to traumatic events.
There are varied symptoms of PTSD, and not everyone will experience PTSD in the same way. Some of the common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event (e.g. nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts)
- Avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, and feelings
- Avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event
- Inability to recall important aspects of the traumatic event
- Detachment from reality, where you act as if the traumatic event is recurring
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent negative emotions (e.g. sadness, fear, irritability, anger, etc.)
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Low self-esteem and self-blame
People with PTSD may be experiencing other mental health challenges at the same time. As a result, people with PTSD may turn to unhealthy coping strategies, such as drugs or alcohol, which can lead to substance dependence and abuse.
Counselling with a mental health professional, one that has specific training in treating individuals who have experienced trauma, has been proven to be a successful intervention for individuals with PTSD. A mental health professional can help you regain control of your life, rebuild self-esteem and confidence, and get you back to enjoying quality of life. Please contact an Encompas care manager to get connected with a mental health professional that can meet your needs.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/
What are Relationships Issues?
Every couple experiences issues in their relationship every once in a while. No couple, no matter how well-suited, goes without times of struggle. Sometimes, couples are able to resolve their challenges and get back to enjoying life together. However, if concerns, challenges, and issues are left unresolved they can turn into marital dysfunction, which can lead to chronic conflict, blaming, separation, and ultimately, divorce. For the individuals in the marriage, these issues can seriously and negatively impact physical and mental health.
There are many different reasons why couples struggle in their relationship. Some of the reasons why marital dysfunction arises may include:
- Financial challenges
- Mental illness
- Physical health issues
- Employment challenges
- Death of a loved one
- Physical, verbal, and/or psychological abuse
Signs of Marital Dysfunction
Marriage can be rewarding, but also equally challenging. Sometimes, the issues and concerns that a couple experiences become ingrained in the identity of their relationship; the couple may think that the pain, hurt, and unhappiness they’re experiencing is “normal” for a marriage, and thus does not require attention and change.
Some signs that your relationship may be struggling includes, but are not limited to:
- Recurrence of the same argument/fight, without resolution
- Arguments that escalate into fights, without resolution
- Avoidance of issues/ignoring each other
- Less meaningful time spent together
- Little to no intimacy
- Constantly blaming each other
- Keeping track of things your partner has done wrong
- Keeping secrets from each other
- Thinking about having an affair
Resolving Marital Dysfunction
Marriage and couple counselling is a form of psychotherapy that has the couple meet with a qualified mental health professional toward the goal of resolving the concerns and conflicts in the relationship, and restoring trust and communication.
Some ways that marriage and couples counselling can help your relationship include:
- Identify the issues, concerns, and challenges
- Identify each person’s needs in the relationship
- Improve communication
- Resolve conflicts sustainable
- Build positive coping strategies in the face of stress
- Restore a meaningful bond
- Restore mutual trust
An Encompas care manager can help you find a mental health professional that has expertise in the challenges you and your spouse are experiencing, who is also a personal and cultural fit.
What is Self Harm?
Sometimes, thoughts, feelings and experiences can seem too overwhelming or difficult to handle. Loss, trauma, feelings of emptiness, or loss of control are all reasons why people may self-harm. People may cope with these experience by hurting themselves. For some, self-harm may turn emotional pain into physical pain, which can be easier to understand and resolve. Most of the time, these individuals do not have an active wish to die. They hurt themselves by cutting, burning, or hitting themselves as a way to feel better. Self-harm is typically a symptom of another mental illness, such as depression, rather than a mental illness on its own.
Self-harm is most common in adolescents, and typically in females. People who self-harm may have suffered a significant stress or trauma in their life.
Often, people who self-harm do so in private. They may feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed. Some warning signs to pay attention to include:
- Unexplained frequent injuries
- Unexplained scars
- Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, even in warm weather
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty managing emotions
- Challenges with relationships
If you’re worried about someone who may be self-harming, its important to learn more about it and talk about it. If you self-harm, it’s important to get the right treatment. Self-harming can actually indicate that you’re experiencing an unresolved mental illness that requires attention and care.
- Take care of your injuries; if you’re worried about an injury, call 911 or go to the hospital
- Talk to someone you trust; a family member, friend, teacher, or counsellor can be helpful
- Talk to your physician
An Encompas care manager can help you find a mental health professional who has expertise in treating self-harm, and is a personal and cultural fit. Your therapist can help you learn new skills on how to effectively cope with difficult thoughts, feelings and past experiences without self-harming, or how to support someone struggling with self-harming behaviours.
DeAngelis, T. (2015). A new look at self-injury. American Psychological Association, 46, 7.
Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/07-08/self-injury.aspx
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Youth and self-injury.
Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/youth-and-self-injury/
What are Sleep Disorders?
Everyone experiences problems sleeping every once in a while. Normal sleep disruptions can come on for a variety of reasons, including excitement, anxiety, preoccupation, feelings of stress, teeth grinding, or night terrors. While you may lose a night or two of solid sleep, typically these normal sleep disturbances resolve themselves in a short amount of time.
However, sometimes sleep disturbances are not quickly resolved. A lack of regular sleep can affect every aspect of your life, including your communication and relationships with others, your concentration, decision making, school or work responsibilities, and daily functioning. Furthermore, a lack of sleep can create significant emotional upheaval, including increased irritability, agitation, and anxiety.
Often, when we are having sleep issues, we are not able to get to the point where sleep is restful and restorative for our bodies. Our body cannot cycle through the proper stages of sleep, and therefore does not allow us to regenerate our energy and rest our minds.
Here are some common signs and symptoms that a lack of sleep is becoming an issue in your life:
- Feeling unrested when you wake up (e.g., feeling tired after 8 hours of sleep)
- Inability to fall asleep, or stay asleep, throughout the night
- Do you toss and turn for most of the night? For those of you who struggle with falling asleep, you may want to look at your bedtime routine. A bedtime routine?, you ask. Yes, as adults, we still need bedtime routines. These are routines that set your body and mind up for a successful night’s sleep.
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night? If you are waking up in the middle of the night and unable to fall back asleep, it is important to figure out the cause of waking. Is it nightmares or the need to empty your bladder? Whatever the case, instead of tossing and turning (which often leads to increased anxiety and worry about being tired the next day), get out of bed and distract yourself until you are feeling tired again. Never lie in bed tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes.
Some more sleeping tips
- Did you know that what you eat affects your sleep? Too much coffee, tea or even chocolate during the day can lead to a difficult night’s sleep. Citrus fruits and juices can also affect your sleep.
- Your television viewing affects your sleep especially what you watch right before bed, so make sure you leave some room for your body and mind to relax before bedtime. If you are watching “negative” or scary programs, that often leads to nightmares and restless sleeps.
- Go to the washroom before bed. It may sound simple, but if you are not emptying your bladder before you fall asleep, you may want to start. This is often a cause for disrupted sleep.
Our Encompas care managers are committed to your care. If you have any questions or need any other information, we are here to help.
American Psychological Association (2020). Why Sleep is Important and What Happens if you don’t Get Enough. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx
What is Stress?
Traditionally, stress is our body’s reaction to a real or perceived threat. The stress prompts us to fight or flee, getting us out of immediate danger. However, in our Western society, stress is more of a daily occurrence that comes up for a variety of reasons, and are not typically things that can be fought against or from which we can run.
For uniformed professionals, such as first responders, military personnel, and emergency service personnel, one’s occupation may be stressful due to the regular (and sometimes daily) exposure to traumatic events, competing priorities on short timelines, and being in a position that is relied upon by society.
Whether we have too much on our task lists, major life changes, occupational stress, or illness in the family, our bodies and minds feel the pressure and become “stressed”. A little stress is normal; it motivates us to become more productive, and complete tasks. However, too much prolonged stress can be overwhelming, creating problems in our relationships, work, and daily functioning.
Different people, in different stressful situations, may react differently. Here are some common signs that stress may be an issue:
- Avoidance of the original problem
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to make decisions
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tenseness
- Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
An Encompas care manager can help you find a mental health professional who can help you manage and reduce your stress, implement healthy coping strategies, and get back to enjoying life.
Some common techniques for the short-term resolution of stress can include:
- Slow down: Often we think that the faster we run around the more we can get done. Often, however, trying to cram everything we wish to do in small periods of time can lead to burnout, and affects the clarity of our thoughts. It is often important to recognize that when we actually slow ourselves down, we often get more done and it gets done more consistently. By slowing down, we can avoid burnout, as well as stress.
- Self Care: Taking care of yourself will often lead to a decrease in stress. True self care is doing something for yourself that you want to do and that rejuvenates your spirit, soul and body. Self care looks different for everyone and it is important to personalize the experience.
- Relaxation: The more stressed we become, the harder it is to actually bring your body and mind back to a relaxed state. Relaxation becomes an important routine to incorporate into your life as it brings you back to a neutral resting state and resets you for future stress. Without helping your body relax, the stress keeps compounding which is very damaging not only for your emotional state but also for your physical state.
What is Suicidal Ideation?
Suicide continues to be a growing presence in our society. People who want to end their lives typically do so because they don’t feel they have any other choice. They feel desperation, an overwhelming, constant emotional pain, and a belief that their life has no worth. People die by suicide because of a variety of reasons. Severe depression, psychosis (e.g., delusion or hallucination prompts self-destructive tendencies), substance abuse, and terminal illness are some of the common reasons why people may wish to end their lives.
There are many causes for suicidal ideation, including our genes and biological make-up, environmental factors, childhood developmental issues, and trauma. Suicide claims more lives than homicide and war every year.
There are several signs that a person may be considering or planning suicide, including:
- Pushing loved ones away
- Social and personal isolation
- Not feeling as though they belong
- Feeling like a burden to others
- Past attempts to end their life
- Any talk of suicidal ideation, plans, or intent
- Sudden change in mood for the better
- Risk-taking behaviour
- Lack of emotional regulation (e.g., sudden outbursts of anger)
If you know someone who may be at risk for suicide, call 911 or your local emergency response centre immediately.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing suicidal ideation or has a plan to end their lives, it’s important to get immediate emergency assistance.
Treatment for suicidal ideation often involves treating the underlying issues, such as mental illness, through psychotherapy. An Encompas Care Manager can find you or your loved ones a mental health professional who has expertise in treating the associated causes of suicide, such as depression. Your therapist can help you identify the causes of your suicidal ideation, and give you tools for managing the overwhelming challenges you’re facing. They can also work with families to help support a loved one struggling with suicidal ideation.
Lickerman, A. (2010). The six reasons people attempt suicide. Psychology Today.
Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/the-six-reasons-people-attempt-suicide
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2020). Suicide.