“This week, we join communities across the country to promote healthy attitudes and actions that foster well-being in recognition of Mental Health Week.

“When it comes to mental health and resilience, the importance of social connection cannot be overstated. The past few months have been difficult for Albertans – between the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty and floods in northern Alberta. For those suffering from addiction or mental health issues, the impact may be more significant with increased levels of anxiety, fear or depression.

“Social connection can help us weather the storm. I encourage you all to reach out to your friends and family. If you know someone who suffers from mental illness, take it a step further and reach in: ask them how they are doing. Let them know you care about them.

“In line with this year’s theme for Mental Health Week of ‘getting real about how you feel,’ be honest about how you’re feeling with people you trust. It may be uncomfortable at first, but research indicates that showing vulnerability increases a sense of closeness and belonging. It might also create a space where others will feel comfortable sharing how they feel with you.

“Together we can do what we cannot do alone.

“We are committed to protecting your mental health and providing the counselling supports you need, in person or virtually, to get you on the road back to health and recovery. Together, let’s build a healthier, stronger Alberta.”

If you are struggling with mental illness or addiction, supports are available at no charge, 24-7.

Call Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.

Alberta’s Addiction Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and problem gambling: 1-866-332-2322.

The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.