Mental Health & Compassionate Care

Many recognize May as Mental Health Awareness month, bringing reminders and resources to the forefront of our minds. This year, Canada celebrated Mental Health Week from May 6-12, promoting a theme of A Call to Be Kind – Because Compassion Connects Us All.

As we approach the end of May, it is important to remind ourselves and those around us of the importance in continuing mental health practices year-round.

Compassionate Kindness

When we show compassion, we acknowledge a commonality between ourselves and others. We establish trust, strengthen relationships, and cultivate a sense of community. We all have the capacity to be compassionate, and we know that doing so can make an enormous difference. Compassion is more than just a fleeting feeling of sympathy; it’s a deep understanding of the suffering of others coupled with a genuine desire to alleviate it. It involves recognizing our shared humanity and responding with kindness, empathy, and a willingness to help.

Did you know we are physiologically built to be kind? Many studies have shown that human beings are built to respond to others who are in need. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), compassion has been shown to:

  • Increase feelings of happiness
  • Be soothing and calming
  • Increase trust and connection
  • Improve emotional resilience
  • Reduce and ease depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness
  • Foster a sense of meaning and fulfillment

Extending compassion to others creates ripple effects of healing and connection. It involves actively listening to their experiences without judgment, offering support without expectation, and validating their emotions even when we may not fully understand them.

Self-compassion

Self-compassion is the foundation upon which mental health is built. It’s about treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding that we would offer to someone else facing struggles. This means acknowledging our imperfections without harsh judgment and by embracing our vulnerabilities.

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act; playing a pivotal role in how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Good mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders; it is about feeling good about ourselves and functioning well in daily life.

Self-care involves taking deliberate actions to maintain and improve your health. It is not a selfish act; rather, it is essential for your well-being. By prioritizing self-care, you are better equipped to manage stress, enhance your resilience, and maintain a positive outlook on life.

Building a Sustainable Self-Care Routine

  • Set Realistic Goals: Begin with achievable goals and gradually incorporate more self-care activities into your routine.
  • Schedule Time for Self-Care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule, just like any other important appointment.
  • Listen to Your Body and Mind: Pay attention to what your body and mind need. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and allow yourself to rest.
  • Be Kind to Yourself: Practice self-compassion. Recognize that it’s okay to have bad days and that you’re doing your best.

Compassion for both yourself and others plays a pivotal role in breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. By fostering open, non-judgmental conversations and creating supportive environments, we can encourage individuals to seek help without fear of stigma or discrimination. Compassion reminds us that mental health struggles are a shared human experience, deserving of understanding and support.


CMHA released a “Mental Health Week 2024 Complete Toolkit”, which includes resources on: What is compassion; The mental health impacts of compassion; The practice of self-compassion; How to create compassionate classrooms; How to create compassionate workplace cultures; A week-long compassion journaling activity. You can access these free resources here: https://cmha.ca/mental-health-week/toolkits/.

Canada offers multiple resources for Mental Health Support. Get help now by finding the resources best for you, because you matterhttps://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/mental-health-services/mental-health-get-help.html.

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