Simple things Canadians can do to promote their mental health

By Madison Wong  Global News

Canadians across the country have been continuing to struggle with their mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. David Goldbloom, professor of psychiatry, recently visited The Morning Show to give advice to Canadians on how they can improve their mental health.

According to Goldbloom, one of the first steps is naming your feelings instead of numbing them.

“Naming it, recognizing it and figuring out strategies to cope with it are better than numbing it, for instance, with alcohol,” he says.

Other things include aiming to introduce structure and routine in our lives and leveraging technology to stay connected with others. Goldboom adds these are common things we can do to promote our mental health, but it is different from treating it.

“For some people, gratitude, mindfulness, meditation…are things that help people go through their day,” he says, adding that managing diet and alcohol consumption and seeking support when you need it are also important.

Goldbloom adds that even before COVID-19, there was an uptake in people struggling with a variety of mental health problems.

So, when it comes to approaching mental health in a post-pandemic future, he says those mental illnesses that were not adequately addressed before the pandemic will only intensify post-pandemic.

He points to people who, for example, were not able to access the help they need during COVID-19, or support for other treatment programs that brought them into contact with other people.

“That delayed wave is going to be the same for a variety of physical illnesses, whose approach to understanding and treatment has been delayed by the pandemic,” says Goldbloom.

A number of countries like the United Kingdom and Australia have included mental health services in their universal health care plans.

On whether or not Canada should also work towards a similar model, Goldbloom says while mental health services provided by family doctors and psychiatrists are already a part of Canada’s health plan, there is more that can be done.

“We know that we live in a very multidisciplinary world with lots of skilled mental health professionals outside of medicine,” he says.

“There’s a need to look at the British model, for example, as a way of incorporating that in our net of publicly funded services.”

Watch Goldbloom’s full interview with ‘The Morning Show’ in the video above.