Mental Health and Illness

Good health is a matter of mind as well as body. There's plenty we can do to take care of ourselves mentally. To start, an active aging lifestyle, including physical activity, healthy eating, and social connections, can do a lot to improve and maintain good mental health as we get older. Read below for more mental wellness tips and for information about mental illnesses like anxiety and depression and where to go for help.

About Mind-Body Wellness

Excerpt from HealthLink BC:

Your mind and body are powerful allies. How you think can affect how you feel. And how you feel can affect your thinking.

An example of this mind-body connection is how your body responds to stress. Constant worry and stress over jobs, finances, or other problems can cause tense muscles, pain, headaches, and stomach problems. It may also lead to high blood pressure or other serious problems.

On the other hand, constant pain or a health problem like heart disease can affect your emotions. You might become depressed, anxious, and stressed, which could affect how you cope with your illness.

But your mind can have a positive effect on your health, too. Having a positive outlook on life might help you better handle pain or stress and stay healthier than someone who is less hopeful.

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About Anxiety

Excerpt from HealthLink BC:

Feeling worried or nervous is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone frets or feels anxious from time to time. Mild to moderate anxiety can help you focus your attention, energy, and motivation. If anxiety is severe, you may have feelings of helplessness, confusion, and extreme worry that are out of proportion with the actual seriousness or likelihood of the feared event. Overwhelming anxiety that interferes with daily life is not normal.

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About Depression

Excerpt from HealthLink BC:

Depression is an illness that causes you to feel sad, to lose interest in activities that you've always enjoyed, to withdraw from others, and to have little energy. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy. Depression can also cause people to feel hopeless about the future and even to think about suicide.

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About Grief and Grieving

Excerpt from HealthLink BC:

Grief is your emotional reaction to a significant loss. The words sorrow and heartache are often used to describe feelings of grief. Whether you lose a beloved person, animal, place, or object, or a valued way of life (such as your job, marriage, or good health), some level of grief will naturally follow.

Anticipatory grief is grief that strikes in advance of an impending loss. You may feel anticipatory grief for a loved one who is sick and dying.

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Other Mental Health Concerns and Conditions

HealthLink BC has information about dozens of other mental health topics. See:

Helpful Organizations and Resources

If you have concerns about your mental health or that of someone you care about, there are many resources available to help in your community.

Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre

If you are experiencing profound emotional distress, you can call the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to talk to a trained professional. For more information, visit:

Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division offers useful resources for people who are affected by mental-health issues.

The association offers the Bounce Back program, for people experiencing mental distress.

"Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health" is a new program designed to help people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety that may arise from stress or other life circumstances.

Bounce Back offers two forms of help. The first is a DVD video providing practical tips on managing mood and healthy living. The second is a guided self-help program with telephone support.

To watch a preview of the DVD and learn more about the program.

B.C. Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information

If you are looking for reliable information about mental health and addiction problems, B.C. Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information offers self-tests, toolkits, discussion forums and information about anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, mood disorders and substance-use problems. To learn more about mental health and substance use issues, visit: