“Each year, World Mental Health Day shines a light on mental health issues and promotes strategies to raise awareness and improve care. Awareness is incredibly important as we strive to help those who suffer and to lift the stigma that so often accompanies psychological diseases and disorders.
This year’s theme focuses on psychological first aid, a particularly relevant topic in the wake of the devastating wildfires in the Wood Buffalo region. Traumatic events can have a profound impact on our psychological and emotional wellbeing and the harrowing circumstances under which Fort McMurray residents were forced to flee has no doubt affected many. It’s important to know that we don’t need special education or training to help someone in crisis. Whether at the scene of an accident, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, or within your own family, we can all play a role in providing comfort and support until the crisis passes or professional help can be accessed.
I encourage all Albertans to learn more about psychological first aid and to be on the lookout for places where you can make a difference for someone in psychological or emotional distress.