How’s your brain? Honest answers ONLY.
This month, we honour Mental Health Awareness Month, and for me, it raises the question: what more awareness could we possibly need?
But then, my second thought is: like any cause, there is always work left to do, and it’s those who feel most connected to the cause who are most compelled into action.
When it comes to the mental health discussion, I have a lot of thoughts and here I will attempt to organize them in such a way that may plant a few helpful seeds.
SOMEONE TO TALK TO
I had the pleasure of speaking with many experts and professionals since launching Happy Tears, and when it comes to the most common need that we as a culture confront in our mental health journey, it’s universal: we just want someone to talk to. More than that, we want someone to validate our struggle, and really see us for the flawed, sensitive beings that we are.
Pro-tip for active listeners: listen to hold space and not to respond. The question “what do you need from me right now?” goes a long way.
THE VALUE OF THE LIVED EXPERIENCE
Through The Connect Deck, I’ve seen more than ever the value of peer support, active listening, and the value of the lived experience. We all have lived experiences with valuable insights and knowledge that can heal ourselves and each other but so often, our fears or our pride, isolate us and make us feel as though we need to navigate our stuff alone. At the risk of sounding capitalistic, there is efficiency to be gained in learning from each other such that we can move through our struggles more quickly, making space for the things we love to do and the relationships we value most. As you know, our motto is ‘FEEL EVERYTHING,’ but in the same breath, we do want you to minimize the amount of time that you marinate in the sucky feels, and maximize the time when you are ‘MOSTLY HAPPY.’
When it comes to proof of just how valuable lived experience can be, we’re turning to science! I’m so thrilled to announce here for the first time that The Connect Deck is taking part in a wellness study at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada! The study will be testing the value of our game for fostering meaningful connections, and how that directly plays a role in overall well-being — HUGE! I cannot wait to share these results with you.
WHEN PUBLIC HEALTH FAILS YOU, TURN TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
When it comes to mental health care and resources, it is no secret that our public system in Canada is not equipped to handle the influx of mental health cases that have been perpetuated over the past decade. Experiencing those downfalls personally, I have grown hopeful by the amazing work being done by local community groups and organizations, and encourage you to lean into those. A Google search can go a long way.
To our Montreal community, we have compiled a list of free and low-cost resources available to you, and will continue to grow our lists to extend to our Feels Fam in other parts of Canada.
To our community group leaders and organizers, we share so many common goals, and I’ve learned that sometimes these common goals translate into duplicated efforts. I want to encourage more cross-pollination and communication of efforts across organizations to maximize the impact and reach of these tools and resources over time. How best to do that? I don’t have the answer yet.
TIP OF THE SEASON: SPRING OUT OF YOUR BUBBLE
As an aside, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how shockingly easy it is to fall into our routines without actively asking: are we making time for things we love? Sun is out, and I hope you are making time, too. I want you to lean into a budding connection, try a new sport or hobby, or create and nurture a new ritual — a monthly dinner party with your core person/group or a picnic in the park. The goal: step outside of your bubble!
Since starting Happy Tears, I have been dreaming of the day that I could create an experience for this community to immerse themselves in the colourful world of our mindfulness brand, connect with local mental health resources, and connect with each other; this month, it is officially happening!
We are bringing Happy Tears to life in the Plateau neighbourhood of Montreal. Doors open May 24th at 5pm EST at 4357 Blvd Saint Laurent.
I wish you so well in your journey. First and foremost, take care of yourself. And then, take care of each other.
No feels left behind,