People think friendship is easy and something everyone figures out by elementary school. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Many people struggle with unhealthy friendships well into adulthood. The Canadian Mental Health Association runs the Art of Friendship, a free course for Calgarians to learn skills for developing healthy friendships.
Priscilla Cherry, a peer facilitator with the CMHA, says mental wellness isn’t possible without healthy friendships.
“It can sound like fluff. But again that is honestly the cure to addiction, mental health and isolation,” she says.
Brigham Young University completed a study which found that not having friendships to rely on could be as negative to one’s overall health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Nigel Mayers, a past Art of Friendship participant who took the course with CHMA’s Recovery College, says he’s learned a lot about healthy friendships, boundaries and hope.
“I isolated myself for years, I cut myself off from my friends and things just got worse and worse from there,” adding, “The moment you really connect with someone; you can see someone go from their world is falling apart to they have that glimmer of hope.”
In partnership with the Calgary office of the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Calgary Journal is publishing a series of podcasts and news stories about mental health issues in our city. You can follow these stories using the #CalgaryJournalHealth hashtag.
Podcast music courtesy of Spyro Vapes/SoundCloud.
- By Emily Dixon, Andrea Wong, Vinyet Miro Pujadas, Rod Neyra