The signs of mental distress may not always be obvious. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with a mood problem, or experiencing substance use or addiction, help is available. There are many options to get help. However, if someone is in imminent danger, such as expressing intention to commit suicide, then calling 911 is the right thing to do. Other options could include going to the nearest urgent care centre or emergency room.
If the situation is not urgent, and you want to learn more about mental health issues, talk to a doctor. Talking to a doctor can clarify options for assistance and gain new information on the causes of mental health issues. Although it can be uncomfortable or frightening to talk about mental health, the sooner you seek help, the better prepared you will be to manage the issue/s. Reaching out also reminds us that we are not alone. There are professionals with expertise who are willing and able to help.
If you don’t have a family doctor, there are other options for accessing the services of mental health professionals:
Go to a walk-in clinic or local hospital emergency room.
Call Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 for confidential information and referrals.
Call 811 Health Link Alberta, a 24-hour advice and health information line staffed by registered nurses.
Language remains a barrier that limits immigrants’ access to health advice services. Immigrants and their families need to know that both the Mental Health Helpline and Health Link provide translation support in more than 240 languages. They will connect you with an interpreter who stays on the line throughout the conversation to actively interpret between the caller and the service provider. When you call, let the nurse know what language you speak. Say ‘Cantonese’ or ‘Mandarin’ or ‘Hindi’ so they can look for an interpreter for you. Just stay on the line and do not hang up as it may take a minute for them to connect to the interpreter.
If you are asking for health information for someone else, it is better for that person to be around as the nurse will be asking questions about symptoms and they will need real time answers to do assessment to give appropriate advice. If not, they will only be able to give general advice.
Remember, mental wellness can be achieved with effort and patience. Asking for help is critical to regaining optimum mental health. Healthcare professionals can work with you to determine the problem and prescribe the best treatment options for you. Just as there are different causes and symptoms, there are also many different ways to treat it. Reach out and ask for help.