What to do when you don’t feel mentally healthy


“Hello…How are you?” is a familiar greeting and we usually don’t put much thought into the response. Our reply is usually, “Fine, how are you?”  But what happens when you are not fine? What happens when you are feeling blue, edgy, or even having thoughts of suicide? How do you tell someone you are not fine, and where can you go for help?

Like many people, you may be reluctant to admit that you have a personal problem which affects your mood. You may think that it is a sign of weakness or that you can manage it alone. There is sometimes a fear that seeking help will negatively impact your career or how others think of you. These are real concerns that may impact your decision to ask for help. It is important to understand that not seeking help may cause the problems to become worse, ultimately impacting your personal health, relationships, and career.

When to ask for help

For many people the symptoms of a serious problem affecting their mental health can be hidden in their mood. You may feel that a problem will go away on its own or that it’s not part of anything serious.  You should ask for help if you experience any of the following:

  • Negative feelings that persist over an extended period of time;
  • Decreased enjoyment;
  • Changes in work performance;
  • Ongoing sleep problems;
  • Physical symptoms;
  • Negative impacts on your relationships; and
  • Thoughts of dying or suicide

For Canadian Armed Forces members, your Primary Care Clinician (PCC) is the first point of contact when seeking medical care for a mental health concern. You can see your PCC during Sick Parade at your local Care Delivery Unit (CDU), but it is best to make an appointment so you have time to discuss your concerns. Your PCC will complete an assessment and provide the care you need, or will refer you to the most appropriate resource. You may be referred to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, for further assessment, or to a mental health nurse or social worker for counselling or therapy.

You can also contact the Member and Family Assistance Program, a voluntary and confidential service to help CAF members and their family who have personal concerns that affect their personal well-being or work performance. This is a short-term problem-solving service and often only a few short sessions are required. If long-term help or a more specialized service is needed, a referral to an appropriate professional resource can be made.

If you require help after hours, proceed to your local hospital emergency department or call 911 in emergencies which are life-threatening.


CAF Member Assistance Program

For CAF Member and their families

Call 1-800-268-7708 for a confidential talk  24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Civilian Employee Assistance Program

For civilian employees and eligible family members.
Visit http://hrciv-rhciv.mil.ca.
Or call 1-800-268-7708 24 hours a day, seven days a week to access professional,short-term counselling.

Civilian Department of National Defence employees can access the Employee Assistance Program for similar services by visiting the ADM(HR-Civ) intranet site at http://hrciv-rhciv.mil.ca. Civilian employees and eligible family members can also call 1-800-268-7708—Health Canada’s Employee Assistance Services—24 hours a day at , seven days a week to access to professional, short-term counselling.

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