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Making Healthy Change

July 14, 2020 1:13 PM | Deleted user

This past June, the Manitoba Region of the CPDJA hosted a mental health themed video call with DJs primarily located in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Following that call, Ryan Sturgeon, the community mental health worker we had as a guest we had on the call, provided us with the following resources to share with all DJs. While some of the list is Manitoba specific, it provides a basic illustration of the mental health support networks that exists in all parts of Canada.

The following is what Ryan shared with us:

Effective Therapy

Anyone looking for basic therapy resources will want to explore Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and/or mindfulness. CBT is a short term evidence based therapy system with the foundational model that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. CBT works to change thoughts and/or behaviors to cause lasting change in feelings and quality of life.

CBT is the number one recommended therapy for anxiety, depression, anger and is found to be more effective than medication (although medication is needed sometimes too). Mindfulness is a way of being present, on purpose, and without judgment. When depressed we often dwell in the past and when anxious, we worry about the future so activities including certain meditations can help us be present and retrain our brain.

Self-Help Resources

My favourite website, the Center for Clinical Interventions has a number of fantastic workbooks on it based on research and CBT. All FREE! Check them out online.

Look up Dr. David Burns as he has the number one CBT book on depression, Feeling Good, and is the world’s leading expert on CBT. He has it all, podcasts, books, and web-based resources.

Palouse Mindfulness offers a great, free online mindfulness course.

MindShift is a good (and free!) app produced by Anxiety Canada centred around CBT (Apple App Store, Google Play Store). There are many other CBT and Mindfulness apps out there as well.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba can be reached at 204-725-8550 and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba can be reached at 204-761-3176. A quick search online will also identify these associations for other provinces.

Finding a Therapist

Self-refer: Look-up adult mental health or community mental health on your regional health authority website. Call your regional health authority if need be. In Western Manitoba, it is Prairie Mountain Health and the intake number is 1-204-578-2400. Counselling is always free and confidential. You can also get a Dr referral if you would like and that way your GP is also aware and can explore medication options if you want. Contact your local health authority for counselling opportunities.

Private counselling: Call your benefits provider and find out how to get connected with the services they offer.

Online / remote counselling: Caring for your mental health is important during the COVID-19 pandemic. AbilitiCBT is a new digital therapy program from Morneau Shepell, available to all residents of Manitoba (and other provinces) age 16 or older experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety due to the pandemic. AbilitiCBT is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) guided by a therapist through a digital platform, which is accessible through your smartphone or tablet. CBT is proven to be one of the most effective and efficient therapy methods. AbilitiCBT is uniquely effective because it virtually pairs you with a professional therapist who supports you through your program.

Crisis Services: All Regional Health Authorities have crisis services available for people that are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and need to talk with someone via telephone. This is also a free service. In Brandon, Manitoba the telephone number is 1-204-725-4411. The contact can be found on the Regional Health Authority website in your region as well. 

There is no wrong question and no wrong way to go about helping yourself. The biggest thing is taking that step and/or making that call. Good luck and take care.

Ryan Sturgeon
Community Mental Health Worker
Prairie Mountain Health Region, Manitoba

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