Valentine’s Day provides reminder to check in with all your loved ones

Valentine’s Day can be difficult for some people in the community who are struggling with mental health related issues or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Buying gifts is the traditional way to show someone you care but Helen Fishburn, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association for Waterloo Wellington, (CMHA WW) said making a meaningful connection with someone can help them if they are struggling.

“What we really want to do is make sure we’re reaching out to folks that we think might be struggling today that are lonely or feeling isolated. Valentine’s Day is certainly a day to receive love but it’s also a day to give love,” said Fishburn.

“It’s not about the gifts, it’s really about the connections.”

This time of year also tends to bring bouts of seasonal affective disorder due to shorter days and weather conditions.

Fishburn also said many grief and loss issues are tied to mental health or mental wellness.

There are supports available in the community to anyone who may be struggling. Fishburn said they have a support line that’s available 24 hours a day for people to call.

Other counselling centres are also available for people who are grieving like Camino Wellbeing and Mental Health and Compass Community Services.

“This kind of Hallmark movie kind of image of how your life should be or your relationship should be and certainly that’s not reality, relationships are very loving and very supportive but their often hard work,” said Fishburn.

“So sometimes people want to over-romanticize this day or put expectations on themselves. We know that there is a lot of community members that are feeling the financial pressures of higher inflation, higher cost of living, so take that pressure off yourself today, today is really about loving yourself.”

Tapping the shoulder of someone you think needs some extra love today can make a difference in their life if they may not be feeling the best today, added Fishburn.

“If we can keep our contacts today just feeling meaningful and really thoughtful that is what matters most,” said Fishburn.

Anyone looking for extra support today can call CMHA WW’s crisis line anytime at 1-844-437-3247. They are available 24/7. They also partner with the 988 Suicide Crisis Helpline where anyone in Canada can call or text 988 anytime for support in English and French.

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