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Get past the stigma of reaching out for help when you’re not at your best. Your network of peers can be most valuable in helping you get through tough times. Consider who you have in your life and who can offer you emotional support, instrumental support, informational support and companionship support. Work together, lean on each other and don’t be embarrassed to say you’re not okay. Everyone struggles and when you use therapy and your friends together, it’s a lot easier to get through hard times.

Many people avoid reaching out for support when they need it because they feel shame, guilt or fear. It can be hard to get over that programming that tells you that everything will be fine if you can just ‘tough it out’ or the idea that we shouldn’t burden others with our problems.

But, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to manage your stress, address your low mood or build your best mental health on your own. Support can come in many forms. Consider:

Emotional support
Who are the people who make you feel heard and validated? Who can you talk to when you want to voice your deepest concerns and difficulties? 

Instrumental support
Who are the people you can count on and get real assistance from when you need it? For example, when you’re moving, if you’re away and need someone to care for your pet or when you need financial support.

Informational support
Where can you get good information or advice about issues that are important to you? Who are those people and what are those sources? For example, reaching out to a physician for medical advice or turning to a supervisor for assistance at work.

Companionship support
Who do you turn to when you’d like to spend time with someone or are just looking for company?

Support can come from a variety of people. Maybe they’re family, friends, neighbours or colleagues. They may include healthcare professionals such as your therapist, family physician, psychologist, nurse practitioner or social worker. They may also include community or online organizations, such as helplines, community centres or spiritual communities such as a church, synagogue or mosque.

Make a mental list of all the current supports you currently rely on. If you don’t have many supports to list, that’s okay. Reviewing which supports we currently have, can also give us information about what we still need. Looking into building additional support may be a goal you want to set for yourself.

All people, to one degree or another, need a community that they can feel a part of.  Even if we’re limited in terms of who we can interact with physically, technology gives us an amazing ability to connect. Being connected to someone, such as a peer, who is going through what you are going through can help one feel less alone and develop methods to manage tough situations. Now is the time to challenge any psychological barriers or beliefs you might have about reaching out to a friend, a professional or someone in your community.

Other resources

Words of wisdom

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