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See a professional if stressed or depressed, pharmacist advises

Medical professionals are bound by law to keep anything you say to them private, pharmacist says
MVT Conversation Mehul Patel-2
Mehul Patel Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — If you feel so stressed you can’t handle it, or you’re feeling depressed, don’t delay – talk to a medical professional about it, a local pharmacist advises. 

Mehul Patel lives in Olds and provides pharmacy services in central Alberta. 

"In my pharmacy practice, I see a lot of patients struggling with mental health," Patel said during an interview. 

“There’s such a stigma around mental health that a lot of people don’t realize that there’s a lot of health available. They’re not alone in their suffering.  

“And it would be better if they started talking – talking to their loved one, talking about the struggles they’re going through.” 

Patel is one of about nine speakers who can be heard during The Conversation Has To Happen, a series on depression and suicide prevention offered in Olds. 

In previous years, The Conversation Has To Happen was a one-day seminar. However, for the second year in a row, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, it’s being offered in a variety of media. 

Until the end of the month, interviews with or profiles of The Conversation Has To Happen speakers will be featured in The Albertan as well as on the radio stations 96.5CKFM and Rock 104.5 in Olds. 

If people suffering from stress don’t talk about it, the ramification can be serious. 

“The effects of stress everybody knows. You age faster, you increase your risk of heart attack, you increase your risk of dying earlier with stroke. So many things can go wrong with stress,” he said.  

He said COVID and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions the past couple of years have been really tough on peoples’ mental health as they lost contact with others, saw their income fall or even lost businesses altogether. 

It was equally hard on children as they weren’t able to learn in person or interact with in-person with their friends or peers. 

“We’re learning a lot more about the importance of these in-person gatherings than we ever learned before,” he said. 

“Domestic violence cases are on the rise, drug abuse cases are on the rise right now. Overdose cases are on the rise.” 

Patel said another problem is peer pressure. 

He cited the example of a lawyer who felt the pressure to be someone he wasn’t comfortable being. Through counselling, he learned it’s OK to just be himself. 

"Everywhere he goes he doesn’t have to please everyone or like, be somebody he’s not comfortable being, just because now he’s trying to adjust and fit in," he said. 

“And that’s something that we should be teaching our kids, too, that don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with, because peer pressure is becoming a big issue in society. They need to know that they’re not alone first of all. Everybody feels some anxiety at some level in their life. It’s part of being human. 

“And if you feel that now it’s getting to a point where it’s like the weight’s too much on your shoulders, something that nobody else can see, go seek help. Otherwise, you will be crushed under the weight of that anxiety and stress, right? And we don’t want that.” 

Patel recommends that people suffering from stress – including kids – talk to a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. He said they’re bound by law to keep anything you say private. 

And if they can’t help you directly, they’ll refer you to someone who can, like a psychiatric nurse, psychologist, psychiatrist. 

Patel said there are also some websites that can be accessed for help with cognitive behavioural therapy. He listed moodgym, mindbeacon, and living life to the full as examples.  

The Alberta Mental health helpline is also a good source of support and information. That toll-free number is 1-877-303-2642. 

Doug Collie

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