Meet Canada’s Mental Health Heroes
The importance of mental health in Canada can never be underestimated. With 40% of Canadians saying their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic – according to the Canadian Mental Health Association in partnership with UBC – it is more important than ever that we empower people to start having more mental health conversations.
This is where mental health advocates like Christina Vita, and the incredible dogs at Companion Paws, play pivotal roles in providing support for the people of Canada who are suffering from mental health issues.
Christina Vita is the type of person we all wish we could be more like. Between her rigorous studies at Western University, she volunteers at The Lifeline Canada Foundation and Kids Help Phone, and is a staunch mental health advocate. She is in her fourth year and hopes to become a mental health therapist when she graduates. Watch what she has to say about mental health and her work at Kids Help Phone.
Christina also volunteers as a researcher at The Lifeline Canada Foundation (also known as TLC). TLC is a registered non-profit committed to positive mental health and suicide prevention across Canada and the World. They currently have three main programs: The LifeLine website, The LifeLine Mobile App and Companion Paws Therapy Dogs.
Companion Paws Therapy Dogs is a two-fold initiative; it provides support for Canadians while providing a second chance for rescue dogs through their dog adoption program. Today, it is available across all provinces in Canada. These furry friends are more than just man’s best friend – they provide mental health support for their owners by helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Meet Snoopy, Bella, Jack, and Bailey who are all advocates of mental health in their own way.
With initiatives like these, there is hope for the future of mental health in Canada. Christina hopes to see a greater spread of awareness and financial support to help ensure mental health is seen as equally important as our physical health. She is pleased that we are making headway in reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health, but hopes to see a greater improvement in the accessibility of mental health resources in Canada.
“While people are becoming more open to seeking mental health help, there are still a lot of barriers to accessing the mental health support they need – traditional therapy can be very expensive,” she says. She hopes to see workplaces implement health insurance plans that facilitate mental health resources, so that those seeking help can get it.
If you know of someone who deserves a medal for their work in supporting the mental health of the people around them, or have overcome a challenge themselves, consider celebrating their bravery with this medal. In addition, all net proceeds go to Kids Help Phone to help support the amazing work that Christina is part of.
“The medal embodies such a powerful message that allows mental health to be a part of the health conversation. I thinks it is a really important step in the right direction. And I’m really happy to see that this coin is happening.” – Christina Vita
This medal is a simple reminder that no one is truly alone, that there is always someone willing to listen, and that what you are experiencing really matters.