Karen Savoy / Sputnik Photography
The goal of Psychology Month is to raise awareness about the relevance of psychology in the lives and communities of individuals. This month is designated for psychologists to teach individuals about their practices and educate society on mental illnesses that cause daily distress to many. Psychology month is sponsored by the Canadian Psychology Association and first began in 2005, according to the Association of Psychology Newfoundland and Labrador.
“This is important for society because it affects everything and can give us answers, solutions and hope for the future of humanity,” Emma Holland, a third-year student double majoring in psychology and criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University, said about the importance of the psychology field. “Psychologists contribute the information that can help shape social programs, policy, education, rehabilitation or anything else that humans might be involved in.”
Psychologists are trained to help individuals with emotional problems and psychological disorders. The psychology profession includes both working as a researcher for the continuous advancement of the field and as a practitioner. February is an opportunity for Canadian psychologists to promote the importance of these practices and aid people in understanding the severity of mental illnesses, which are often invisible. The increasing education on mental health is crucial for destigmatizing mental disorders and decreasing the hesitation individuals feel about reaching out for help.
In a YouTube video by Dochas Psychological Services from last February, the previous Psychology Month, Canadian psychologist Kim Long explains the purpose of this month and the benefits of consulting with a psychologist.
“We apply science along with a little bit of art and creativity to help you access all of those skills and wonderful traits that you already have in order to live the lives that you are meant to and that you really want to,” said Long.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of Canadians aged 15 years and older with a general anxiety disorder in 2022 has doubled in prevalence since 2012. After the pandemic, there was a global decline in mental health, which drew the attention of the public to online therapy. Only 48 per cent of Canadians in this age group living with a mental illness received professional help in 2021. These statistics further display the importance of educating Canadians through Psychology Month as well as the many years that psychologists dedicate to their profession to increase the value of mental health among society.
There are several mental health services available to Canadians on the Goverment of Canada website and for Ontarians at Ontario.ca. For immediate help, Canada’s suicide hotline number 988 is available 24/7.
There are many resources available for Laurier students at the Wellness Centre. A series of workshops are offered by the Wellness Education team to educate students on mental wellness and healthy living as well.