Keeping calm and carrying on for mental health

Woman sitting alone, deep in thought, having coffee and holding her mobile phoneAt work, in our kitchen, is a poster with words of inspiration – apparently. I however, have tried to purposefully avoid reading it, until the other day when I sat down for a meeting and it was right in front of me.

I am not sure what to think about this wall art.  Honestly, I find these messages unrealistic.  I also think they create pressure for us to be perfect.

For instance the poster in our kitchen recites 26 messages, some saying:

  • Fall in Love
  • Learn More
  • Be Creative
  • Follow Your Dreams
  • Smile Often
  • Live For Today
  • Make Every Moment Count, and so on.

Wow, I think to myself, what a list. Who can do all this? What if a person is having a bad day; do they ignore this art? Is this supposed to elevate their mood? Motivate them? Life isn’t always easy! Is this good for mental health?

We know Perinatal Mood Disorder affects between 12 and 24% of women during pregnancy and up to 13% of new mothers after having a baby. It even affects men, with 10% of new dads experiencing paternal postpartum depression (50% when mom is depressed).

Public Health Ontario (PHO) reports that approximately 12% of adults aged 20 to 64 have reported a mood or anxiety disorder in Ontario. However, PHO also states approximately 77% of adults report positive mental health.  This is good news and indicates the majority are coping well.

I do wonder though, if we put pressure on ourselves to always be happy and productive. Signage, like the one in my office kitchen, may not always be so helpful for some people.

Jennifer giving the thumbs-up sign in front of her Keep Calm and Carry on posterNow, I must confess, I have a sign on my wall.  As stated on-line by Wikipedia, Keep Calm and Carry On “was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities”.  I like this poster’s simple message.   I quote it all the time to my daughter as she tackles life’s ups and downs.  In fact, the other day when I was stressed about something she said to me “Mom. Just Keep Calm and Carry On”. I must admit I was impressed and looked her in the eye and smiled.

If you think you are experiencing difficulty managing your stress or with coping, contact your health care provider.  For more information on mental health and mental illness, see the Canadian Mental Health Association webpage.

Do you have a saying that you appreciate during life’s ups and downs? Share with us:

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Jennifer Jenkins-Scott: I have been a health professional for 34 years, but more importantly a mother for the last 16. When I am not ‘on-the-job’, I can be found at Mohawk College working towards my certificate in Interior Decorating, on the bike trails, in the gym, skiing, crafting, entertaining or at home either reading a good book or binge watching Netflix.

This entry was posted in Babies, Depression & Anxiety After Birth, Depression & Anxiety During Pregnancy, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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