Mental Health Week – #MyStory 

Storytelling is a fundamental part of life. It’s how we share information, culture, language, and ways of life. Stories connect us with our friends, families and ancestors. Sharing personal experiences and stories is not only valuable for promoting understanding — it can help us see the world from different perspectives.  Our stories shape us and the way we interact with each other and the world. 

Stories are an integral part of mental health. It’s through stories that we build connections, make sense of our realities, find support, and reduce stigma. Stories of humanity, healing, and new possibilities. It’s also through listening to our clients and their stories that Occupational Therapists help clients get back to the activities they love.  OT Works! supports CMHA Mental Health Week (May 1-7, 2023) and this year’s theme: #MyStory. 

Understanding Mental Health 

Mental health is the state of our psychological and emotional well-being. It encompasses our emotions, feelings of connection, thoughts, and the ability to manage life’s highs and lows. Throughout our lives, we will all experience periods of positive and negative mental health.  

Everyone has mental health 

Mental health and mental illness are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to note that they are not the same. Mental health is always there and may be positive or negative. Mental illness, however, affects a person’s ability to function over a long period. Someone without a mental illness could experience poor mental health, just as a person living with a mental illness could experience excellent mental health. 

The presence or absence of a mental illness is not a predictor of good mental health 

Mental health is part of every one of us and in all areas of our lives. We bring it with us to our workplaces, schools, our hobbies, recreational activities, and our places of worship – everywhere we go in our communities our mental health is with us. 

Everyone deserves to have the right supports and resources available to foster good mental health 

Mental illnesses are caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors. They are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning. 

One-third of people in Canada will experience a mental illness or substance use disorder in their lifetime. 

With the right support, people with mental illnesses can thrive. Just as we take care of our physical health, there are many ways we can help take care of our mental health. 

Look after your mental health 

Everyone can take steps to take care of their mental health.  

Building and nurturing support networks 

Feeling connected to others and to our community not only provides us with a sense of belonging but ensures we have people to lean on when we need to. Friends, family members, co-workers, neighbours, and romantic partners can all be great connections. 

Identifying and feeling our emotions 

Having good mental health doesn’t mean feeling happy all the time. It means being able to identify and experience the wide range of emotions that all humans go through and managing them in a way that is respectful to you and others around you. 

Being active 

Move your body in a way that feels good for you. This can include walking, dancing, running, swimming, stretching, and playing with your kids or animals. Moving your body 20 minutes per day decreases tension levels and improves anxiety, depression, dementia, cognition, and quality of life. 

Trying a new hobby or sport 

Inviting fun and creativity into our routines can help minimize stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Make time for the things that bring you meaning and joy! Whether it’s knitting, reading, bike riding, or baking, there are endless possibilities and activities to get involved in. 

Practicing mindfulness 

Mindfulness is purposely bringing one’s attention to the present moment. When our minds are cluttered, it can be difficult to notice our feelings. Practicing mindfulness and breathing exercises can help calm your mind, become more aware, and create better connections with yourself and others.  

Being kind to ourselves 

While we can’t stop our minds from thinking, we can change how we talk to ourselves. Take a moment and listen to your inner voice. What’s it telling you? Sometimes we don’t realize the amount of negative self-talk we engage in until we stop and listen. We could all benefit from growing our compassionate voice which might sound like how we speak to our loved ones. 

Looking for help 

Safely sharing your stories and struggles with a professional can also be helpful. A mental health professional can support you on your journey to becoming healthier! 

Occupational Therapy, Mental Health, and Stories 

Occupational Therapists (OTs) can listen to your stories in a professional, safe, non-judgmental, and respectful way. 

Our OTs provide trauma-informed care and can help you get back to the activities that are meaningful to you.  

Supporting clients and their mental health is exactly what OTs do!  
OTs can help you find and build the right supports, identify your emotions, get active, try new fun and creative activities, practice mindfulness, and reframe the way you think and speak to yourself. Ultimately, OTs can help you get back to the life you love! 

Contact Us 

At OT Works!, our occupational therapists recognize the importance of listening and understanding.  Our therapists are experienced in providing support for mental health issues.  Our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety, and chronic pain.    

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, contact us today.  


Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.  

Learn More 

  • CMHA Mental Health Week 
  • Sharing your Story Safely by the Mental Health Commission of Canada 
  • Wellness Together: mental health support for people in Canada and Canadians abroad. Always free and virtual, 24/7. 
  • Bounce Back: A free, evidence-based program designed to help adults and youth experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, or stress, with or without anxiety. 

OT Works! would like to thank CMHA for supplying parts of the content for this post.