A woman with long grey hair wearing a blue sweater smiles at the camera. Text reads 'A Call to Be Kind'

Press Release – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 6-12 is Mental Health Week and the theme is “A Call to be Kind”. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is promoting the healing powers of compassion and how this can affect your mental health and your physical health.

We all have the capacity to be compassionate, and we know that doing so can make an enormous difference. Being compassionate for others and for yourself can go a long way to achieving your physical health goals. Although the philosophy of compassion has been around for many year, interest in looking into the mental health benefits of compassion have increased over the past few years. Scientific evidence suggests that giving compassion, receiving compassion, and allowing ourselves to experience self-compassion are all very beneficial to our mental health.

The CMHA is promoting an activity that people can participate in that is simple and effective – it is call the “Week of Compassion.” Throughout the week, people are encouraged to practice compassion by not only acknowledging suffering but actively demonstrating care and kindness. Compassion can start within yourself and expand to those around you, reaching far and wide. Similar to a gratitude journal, write down how you showed compassion to yourself or to someone else every day this week

Examples might include giving yourself a compliment, helping a family member, or volunteering in your community. Practicing compassion in the workplace can be an amazing way to connect with co-workers and reduce workplace stress and anxiety.  Sometimes we’re so caught up in our own work, we overlook the needs of those around us.  Being kind can be a great starting point. 

Showing compassion improves our mental health and well-being because we feel happier when helping others. Giving makes us feel good so it can ease depression and make us feel happier; we see things in a more positive light and that can sometimes give us momentum to feel positive more often. It can help improve relationships with those around us when we show compassion to others.

The CMHA has some great resources for mental health week (www.mentalhealthweek.ca). You can also follow LGLHealthunit on social media for tips on adding compassion to your daily routine.