Self-management of mental health: a tool to get better

Launched more than three months ago, the website “Get better my way»Already has more than 10,000 registrations. This mental health self-management tool, launched at the initiative of a researcher from the Montreal Mental Health University Institute, helps take charge of psychological well-being.

Its use is simple: with the help of a questionnaire addressing themes such as physical health, daily functioning or relationships with others, the user draws up a portrait of the strategies he is already using, and those that he could adopt, to be fine.

“We hope that people will realize that they have a role to play in their mental health, as they have a role in their physical health,” said Janie Houle, researcher at the Research Center of the University Institute in Mental Health of Montreal (IUSMM) and professor in the Department of Psychology at UQAM, and instigator of the project.

In his opinion, the tool could help prevent mental health problems upstream. And this, especially in times of pandemic, where stress and uncertainty test everyone’s mental health.

A complementary tool

Ms. Houle warns, however, that self-management is not a substitute for professional mental health assistance.

“Consulting a health professional, consulting a community organization, that’s also part of self-management. (…) The idea is not to come out on your own, ”explains the researcher.

To this end, “Going Better My Way” offers a list of around 100 mental health resources, such as 811, crisis lines or the services of community organizations.

Tina Montreuil, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at McGill University, joins her voice to that of Ms. Houle to recall that the therapeutic human bond is essential.

While access to mental health services is sometimes expensive and difficult to access, the psychologist also stresses the importance of raising the government’s awareness to this effect.

“This type of tool as a first opening to a search for help can be very good. And that can help shed light on things that are more abstract. (…) But what do we do with very heavy cases, which after that are more isolated, and do not have access to financial or social resources? ”Raises the therapist.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

If she considers it important to take charge of your mental health, Ms. Houle insists on the importance that the tool is not perceived as a performance obligation.

Same echo for Tina Montreuil. The psychologist also recalls that the loss of control caused by the pandemic can cause a lot of stress.

“Anything under my control to help me get better is what I have to focus on. Everything over which we do not have control, like the pandemic (…) we do ourselves a lot of harm if we focus on it, ”she says.

In addition, the psychologist points out that the longer the uncertainty linked to the pandemic lasts over a long period, the more it will have the potential to negatively affect the mental health of people who were previously functioning well. Hence the importance of raising awareness of mental health issues, and of reaching as many people in need as possible, particularly through similar initiatives.

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