Life in Balance

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Supporting a Loved One

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The Canadian Mental Health Association’s focus for their 63rd annual Mental Health Awareness Week this year is to encourage people to feel comfortable and confident to say when they are not fine. We regularly ask each other “how are you?”, in which the expected response is fine or good, even if it is not the case. When we ask others how they are doing, we must be ready to answer to “I’m not fine”, even if it not said. Below is a list of things to consider when people say fine, but are showing signs that they are not:

  1. That person might not be ready to talk when you initially ask. Be patient and make sure that they know you are there for them and that you are willing to listen.
  2. It might not be the right place to talk. Find a neutral setting to talk to a loved one who might be struggling. Safe spaces, like a bedroom, can feel unsafe when difficult conversations take place in those places and, in turn, it might become an unsafe space for that person struggling.
  3. That person might feel more comfortable talking with someone else. Help your loved one find the support he or she might need. Encourage your loved one to talk to people that you believe him or her to be close with.
  4. Keep non-verbal cues in mind too. A loved one might say they are fine, but his or her body language, attitude, and demeanor might hint that that he or she is not. Pay close attention and gently explain the cues that cause you to think that he or she is not fine.
  5. Be encouraging and approachable. Be available for your loved one, but don’t be overbearing. A person who needs support must be ready for support.

Above is a list of things to think about, but when you or a loved is in need, make sure to talk to the right supports for your situation. Talk to a professional or visit websites such as, National Eating Disorder Information Centre and Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about supports that exist and support personnel in your community to can support you and your loved one.

By Carina Cappuccitti, Summer Student

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