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Mental Health

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Stress Busters 
Bipolar Disorder
Helpful Links & Contacts

Need help?

Having thoughts of suicide? ...of harming yourself or someone else? Then please CALL 911 right now. 

Need to Talk?

Kids Help Phone:  1-800-668-6868
Help for kids and teens 
  • Phone counselling
  • Web counselling
  • For ages 20 & under
  • Free, 24/7
  • Anonymous & Confidential
  • Non-judgemental
Wes for Youth Online
Crisis and Counselling for Youth in Grey Bruce

Choices Drug and Alcohol Counselling for Youth  
(20 and under)
(519) 371-5487 or 1-800-265-3133

Mental Health Crisis Line of Grey & Bruce

Help for those in distress or crisis of any age. It provides caring, non-judgmental support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services 
519-371-4773  1-800-567-2384
Various programs, including counselling.

Understanding stress
Your feelings about the events in your life are very important. By understanding yourself and your reactions to stressful events, you can learn to handle stress effectively. The best place to start is by figuring out what produces stress in you whether it is a major event, a long term worry or a daily hassle.
The Stress Response
When you find an event stressful, your body undergoes a series of changes, called the stress response. There are three stages to this response. They are:
Stage 1 - Mobilizing Energy
At first, your body releases adrenaline, your heart beats faster, and you start to breathe more quickly. Both good and bad events can start this reaction.
Stage 2 - Consuming Energy Stores
If, for some reason, you do not escape from the first stage, your body begins to release stored sugars and fats from its resources. At this stage, you will feel driven, pressured and tired. You may drink more coffee, smoke more, and drink more alcohol than is good for you. You may also experience anxiety, memory loss, catch colds or get the flu more often than normal.
Stage 3 - Draining Energy Stores
If you do not resolve your stress problems, the body's need for energy will become greater than its ability to produce it, and you will become chronically stressed. At this stage, you may experience insomnia, errors in judgement, and personality changes. You may also develop a serious sickness, such as heart disease, ulcers or mental illness.
Coping with stress
Because each of us is different, there is no one "correct" way to cope with stress. However, there are a number of different things that can be done, and it is helpful to look at both short and long-term solutions to reducing stress.
Identify your problems. Are unimportant, surface problems masking real, deeper ones? Once you are fairly sure you know what the problem is, you can do something about it.
Solve your problems.
Start thinking about solutions. What can you do, and what will be the consequences? What will happen if you do nothing? If you follow this problem-solving strategy, you should be able to make some changes to take the pressure off yourself. This long-term way of reducing stress in your life is something everyone, sooner or later, will need to do.   If you have trouble problem solving and negative thoughts are taking over, you should talk to someone who can help. 
Talk about your problems.

You may find it helpful to talk about your stress. Friends and family members may not realize that you are having a hard time. Once they understand, they may be helpful in two ways:

1) by just listening to you vent your feelings
2) by suggesting solutions to your problems

If you need to talk with someone outside your own circle of friends and relatives, your family doctor may be able to refer you to a mental health counsellor or there may be another adult you trust that you can talk to like your school guidance counsellor, coach or a counsellor at kids help phone.    
Reduce tension.

Physical activity can be a great stress reducer. Go for a walk, take up a sport, clean the house.

You may find it helpful to learn some relaxation exercises.

These can be as simple as deep breathing - slowly inhale through your nose until you cannot take in any more air, and then exhale through your mouth.
Another simple exercise is stretching - stretch and relax each part of your body, starting from your neck and working downward; exhale as you stretch, and inhale as you release the tension.

If you make a habit of taking pressure off yourself by getting rid of your tension, you will find yourself less stressed and more able to solve the problems that caused your stress in the first place.
Take your mind off your problems.
You may be able to get rid of stressful feelings temporarily by getting busy. If you get involved in hobbies, sports or work, you can give yourself a "mental holiday" from your stress. Not thinking about your problems for a while can give you a little mental distance from them and make them easier to solve later on.
Information provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association
These are things you can try at home by yourself, at school, at a party or on a crowded bus. Try them. They actually work!
  • Work out
  • Count backwards from 100 by 3’s (100, 97, 94…..)
  • Go for a brisk walk around the block
  • Take a bath or a warm shower
  • Play basketball
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Read a book
  • Repeat the words of a poem or song
  • Draw
  • Doodle
  • Watch a movie
  • Sort your sock drawer
  • Think positive
  • Describe in detail all the things you see around you. Notice color, size, shape, texture and position.
  • Tell yourself that you can’t be tense and relaxed at the same time: Consciously tense and relax specific parts of your body.
  • Play simple word games such as spelling words backwards or counting the number of letters in a word.
  • Imagine yourself as a rag doll and let your muscles go loose and limp.
  • Avoid substances and alcohol when you are stressed out.
  • Make a list of things to do that you’ve already done.
  • Try some new ways of ‘grounding’ yourself and become more aware of the present:
  • Look around the room and notice the colors, the people, and the shapes of things
  • Listen to the sounds around you, the traffic, birds etc.
  • Feel your body, the boundary of your skin, your clothes, the chair or floor supporting you.
Need more Stress Busters? Visit http://mindyourmind.ca/toolbox/stress-busters for helpful games, videos and other coping tools!
What are the signs of depressive illness?
Depressive illness can change the way a person thinks and behaves, and how his/her body functions. Some of the signs to look for are:
  • feeling worthless, helpless or hopeless,
  • sleeping more or less than usual,
  • eating more or less than usual,
  • having difficulty concentrating or making decisions,
  • loss of interest in taking part in activities,
  • decreased sex drive,
  • avoiding other people,
  • overwhelming feelings of sadness or grief,
  • feeling unreasonably guilty,
  • loss of energy, feeling very tired,
  • thoughts of death or suicide
What causes depression?
There is no one cause of depression and it is not fully understood what causes it. The following factors may make some people more prone than others to react to a loss or failure with a clinical depression:
  • specific, distressing life events,
  • a biochemical imbalance in the brain,
  • psychological factors, like a negative or pessimistic view of life
  • There may also be a genetic link since people with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it.
How long does depression last?
The depressed feelings we all experience after a serious loss or disappointment may last for a short or a long time. How long depends on the person, the severity of the loss, and the support available to help the person to cope with it.
Clinical depression may also last for short or long periods. It rarely becomes permanent. Without professional treatment, it may end naturally after several weeks or months. With treatment, it may end much more quickly.
How is depression treated?
Depression is the most treatable of mental illnesses. Most people who suffer from depression are helped by the treatment they get, which usually includes medication and/or psychological counselling. Support from family, friends and self-help groups can also make a big difference.
Many people who are seriously depressed wait too long to seek treatment or they may not seek treatment at all. They may not realize that they have a treatable illness, or they may be concerned about getting help because of the negative attitudes held by society towards this type of illness.
Our moods tend to be varied and shifting, but generally we feel as though we have some control over them. However, for people with mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, that sense of control is missing.
People with Bipolar Disorder, or manic depressive disorder, experience alternating mood swings from emotional highs (mania) to lows (depression). The condition can range from mild to severe.
It is not known what causes bipolar disorder. Research suggests that people with the condition have a genetic disposition. It tends to run in families. Drug abuse and stressful or traumatic events may contribute to or trigger episodes.
Symptoms of mania include:
  • Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism, exaggerated self-esteem
  • Rapid speech, racing thoughts
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Extreme irritability
  • Impulsive and potentially reckless behaviour
Symptoms of the depression phase are the same as in major depression.
Bipolar disorder is mainly treated with medication and psychotherapy. Medication helps to stabilize moods, while therapy helps people detect patterns and triggers and develop strategies for managing stress. Sometimes, electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is used.
Information Provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association  
To prevent suicide:

For help:
Canadian Mental Health Association
Grey Bruce Branch
1024 2nd Ave. E.
Owen Sound, ON N4K 2H7
Phone: 519 - 371 3642
Fax: 519 - 371 6485