Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, dedicated to raising the profile of health issues that impact every Canadian but most are afraid to discuss. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2 in 3 people suffer in silence because they’re afraid of judgement and rejection.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, local mental health services provider Stevenson, Waplak & Associates (based in Belleville Ontario) will offer free emotional health check-ups with a confidential half-hour session at their office in Belleville.
“Anxiety and mood disorders like depression are among the most common mental health issues. They’re also among the most treatable,” said Jeff Waplak, clinical director for Stevenson, Waplak & Associates. “Often, people just want to know whether what they’re feeling is ‘normal’.”
Professionals more accurate than Google
Surveys have shown that more people turn to the Internet than their doctors when it comes to questions about their health. Not only can it be hard to find the information you’re looking for, it can also be inaccurate.
“We will use a standardized screening test that people can print for their own reference and take to their doctor, if they wish,” Waplak explained. “It’s just an opportunity to ask questions of a professional so you can feel more confident about whether or not you have anything to worry about.”
Sessions are also available to family and friends who may be concerned about a loved one. A mental health professional can provide factual information and review screening questions they would typically ask.
“Many people are afraid to ask for help; there’s such a significant stigma around mental health that we’re trying to break through,” observed Waplak. “That doesn’t mean the people around them aren’t affected.”
Free Mental Health Assessment: What to expect
The focus of the mental health assessment is particularly on anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. After a brief introduction, individuals will be led through the screening test; results will be reviewed by a mental health professional, who can suggest next steps as needed.
“People won’t leave with a diagnosis, the screening isn’t that comprehensive,” emphasized Waplak. “However, they will know whether it’s worth having a conversation with their doctor. It’s a chance to ask: ‘What do you think of this?’”
To book your free and confidential 30-minute mental health assessment, please contact Stevenson, Waplak & Associates at 613-967-0545 or email [email protected]; please note that you are interested in the free assessment in the subject line of your email.
When: Oct. 3rd from 9am to 5pm
Where: 72 Orchard Drive Belleville, Ontario K8P 2K7