The month of May is dedicated to raising awareness about the mental health and well-being of communities across Canada.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recently visited The Morning Show to highlight important conversations around mental health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s an important issue for every single human being in this country and on this planet,” Trudeau says. “Our mental health is at the core of how we express ourselves, of how we feel related to other people, how we know ourselves as beings through our whole life path.”
Read more: Mental health report: Vast majority of Ontarians experiencing negative emotions amid pandemic
Trudeau emphasizes more than 40 per cent of Canadians have stated their mental health has declined since the beginning of the pandemic.
She adds some populations are more vulnerable than others, like Indigenous communities, veterans and youth.
“I have a lot of friends who work in the health industry and they’re seeing so many young people at risk right now with their mental health,” Trudeau says.
If a person isn’t finding support in one’s own home or close circle of friends, Trudeau says Canadians can look to other resources like Wellness Together Canada, where they have access to therapists or experts to guide them.
Trudeau says she suffered from eating disorders and anxiety issues when she was a teenager.
“We all have our own types of anxieties or sleep disorders or trauma in our own life,” she says. “We’re all one trauma away from one another. It takes one accident, one life event, one crazy life story and it happens to anybody. Nobody is invincible to mental health issues.”
She adds the more that Canadians talk about their stories, the more they can understand what others are experiencing. Showing compassion and empathy is important, especially during the pandemic.
As Canadians continue to remain in isolation due to various COVID-19 restrictions in their provinces, staying positive can be difficult.
For Trudeau, staying away from her phone in the morning as well as practising meditation and yoga are practices that have helped her navigate her wellbeing during the pandemic.
“I devote my time to creating silence within myself. … We should know how to take care of ourselves for a couple of minutes a day. And you know what? It makes a huge difference,” she says.
“It has nothing to do with performance. It is only by showing up for yourself. … When you do it, you always feel better after.”