May 4-8 is Mental Health Week, a Canadian tradition during which communities, schools and workplaces rally to celebrate, protect and promote mental health. Deborah Gillis, CBU’s 2017 honorary degree recipient and President and CEO of the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) understands the importance of keeping mental health at the forefront in our communities.
Originally from Glencoe Station, Nova Scotia, Deborah became President and CEO of the CAMH in April of 2018. Since then, Deborah has heard from many people who have suffered in silence because of shame and stigma. Now, as we face the COVID-19 global pandemic, we need to recognize the importance of taking care of our mental health.
“As we do our best to protect ourselves from the physical effects of the virus, a lot more people are experiencing mental health challenges,” says Deborah. “Now more than ever, we need to take care of our own mental health and support our loved ones during these difficult times.”
Luckily, Deborah explains, we’re at a moment when the mental health conversation is getting louder, and the more we talk about it, the more people will feel empowered to reach out for help and share their stories. Deborah, along with her team at CAMH, are supporting and guiding patients and visitors through these unprecedented times virtually by offering a variety of tips, coping strategies and resources, which can be accessed here.
When asked if she had any advice for CBU faculty, staff and students, Deborah says she’s found it helpful to focus on “progress over perfection.”
“This is not a time where we are going to be our most productive selves. Every day, we are all just doing our best, recognizing some days will be better than others, and that’s all we can expect from each other and from ourselves,” says Deborah. “Above all else, be kind to yourself and to one another. Many of us may feel helpless and afraid, but there are ways that we can all bring some light into the world.”
To read more on Deborah, please click here.