Hello again, and welcome to the world’s least consistent advice column, Advice From Uncle CB. Today, I actually have something important to talk about: your mental health, as well as the mental health of those around you.

Life is hard. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or blissfully unaware due to self-prescribed medications. And with those hardships come strains to your mental wellbeing: thoughts on maybe you’re not doing what you like, thinking everyone hates you, being a Sens fan, the list of things that make things hard is endless. And sometimes, that can get the better of us.

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Every once in a while, you need to ask yourself: am I okay? Do I need some help with things? Should I be doing more of x/y/z to take care of myself? And if something major happens, this is something you should really ask yourself. Because your mental wellbeing, at the end of the day, is the be all and end all. No matter how great things might be, you might still not be 100%, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone, or ask for help. Everyone has a good idea of their resources, be it through their employer, school, local health authority, or just doing something out of pocket. I’m lucky that I get six free sessions with a psychologist a year through my employer. And if you don’t need professional help, speak with a friend, family member, spiritual leader, a hotline, whatever you need. Or change your routine, try some new or old hobbies, exercise more, eat better (learning how to cook good food is tough but super rewarding). Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, because you’re important.

But the main thing I want to talk about is others. Too often, we here about someone who has taken their own life, and people say “who could have seen this coming” or “there were no warning signs”, when in a lot of cases, yeah, there were warning signs, we either just ignored them, didn’t take them seriously, or were too afraid to talk with the person about it. And then it’s too late.

If you see someone changing their behaviour, losing weight, not having the same interest in hobbies, becoming more reclusive, please, talk with them. If you see that someone has self-harmed, approach it with them with your concern. If you don’t know how to, maybe mention it to someone close to them. It’s a touchy subject because no one likes to talk about it, but something has to be done.

And doubly so for the parents out there (I know Oppo has some awesome ones). Pay attention to your kids. The warning signs are there if there’s something going on. If something is going on, take it seriously, and try to help a person find the resources they need. I wouldn’t wish being a teenager on my worst enemy because holy crap is it a rough time. And without coping mechanisms, kids are vulnerable. Talk with them about mental health, and try to stay involved enough to know when something might be an issue. If they don’t want to talk to you, ask a teacher, a grandparent, someone else they might trust. A kid having troubles with mental health isn’t always a sign of bad parenting, but ignoring warning signs and saying everything is okay definitely is.

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Anyway, maybe this is now a rant at 3.45 in the morning created by some of the absurdity of today, but please, take care of each other out there. There’s no shame in asking for help, and although it’s awkward, it’s important to ask other if they need help.

I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.