Mental Health Week is for clinicians too

Mental Health Week is for clinicians too

For the past 71 years, Canada has recognized the first week in May as Mental Health Week. It’s a great reminder for all of us (including mental health clinicians) to pause and reflect on our own mental health and the practices we have in place that hinder and support our emotional wellness.

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental illness continues to impact peoples’ willingness to speak up about their challenges and access the appropriate supports, thereby leaving many vulnerable to deteriorating mental health that begins to compromise their daily life. As much as we’d like to believe that, as clinicians, we are in some way immune to this process, that simply isn’t the case.

As clinicians we’ve received messages from society (about mental illness, gender roles), from our education and training, etc., that may contribute to us ignoring our own unique needs and simply falling into familiar (not necessarily healthy) patterns of behaviour (at work and home) that fit with the messages we’ve received. And, if these patterns of behaviour begin to create challenges for us (as they can so often do), it’s easy to fall into a pattern similar to non-clinicians, where we silently judge ourselves as being inadequate or ill-suited for our profession.

So, in honour of Mental Health Week, we are encouraging our community of female mental health clinicians to accept that, as humans, we’re also vulnerable to buying into unhelpful messages that lead us to act in ways that are counterproductive to our overall mental health and wellness.

That’s not a character flaw, that’s just part of being human.

Once we accept that fact, we’re in a much better position to truly observe our experiences, accept our unique needs, and begin taking steps towards creating a life that truly enables us to thrive.