While the malls and our social media feeds are filled with friends gathering, cookie baking, Santa photos, and clinking glasses of good cheer, we must not forget that not everyone feels the merriest during the holiday season.

To remind us about the pressures of the season and loneliness that many Canadians feel, Wellness Together Canada – a free virtual mental health and substance use program designed to support people living in Canada, and Canadians abroad with 24/7 access to barrier-free resources – all at no cost, has launched a new digital campaign.

#RealHolidayTales:

The campaign’s aim is to reach people across Canada who might be experiencing feelings of anxiety, loneliness and isolation this holiday season and let them know they are not alone and support is available.

“The holidays can be wonderful for some, and hard for others. The hustle and bustle can be very stressful, triggering difficult feelings – especially for those who may struggle with challenging family relationships,” says Dr. AnnMarie Churchill, clinical social worker and President and Lead Executive Officer at Stepped Care Solutions. “There is no right way to feel or be during the holidays and being transparent about the realities many of us face can help to reduce feelings of isolation. For those who need support, Wellness Together Canada is here for you during the holidays or any time throughout the year.”

Sharing their stories:

Three influential Canadians Vivek Shraya, Andrian Makhnachov, and Jaime Pandit share their stories and experiences when it comes to navigating the challenges this that this time of year can bring. You can find it here.

During the conversation, Andrian shares warm memories of gathering with his family in the Ukraine and the difficulties of being away from them. Vivek talks about starting new traditions with chosen family, and gives tips on taking the pressure off during an already busy time of year. And Jamie explores how her experience of the holiday season has changed as her relationships with family members have evolved over the years.

walking-meditation

Mental health service providers nationwide continue to experience unprecedented demands as Canadians struggle to deal with the mental health impacts of financial uncertainty and complex challenges brought about by the long-term effects of the pandemic and global conflicts, among other things.

Wellness Together Canada, supported by Health Canada, is the country’s first and only online platform offering immediate mental health and substance use support for people of all ages, in every province and territory and in both official languages. The program provides FREE, 24/7 counselling support with little to no wait times.

Where to start:

If you or anyone you know is struggling this holiday season, visit wellnesstogether.ca . We’d also recommend just simply sharing this post on your feed with a link. You never know who sees it and could use a bit of help right now.

*Lead in Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

*Second photo by Libby Roach