Mental and sexual health
by Bre Woligroski
Dear Ate Anna:
I love my wife very much. When I get home from work I feel overwhelmed and tired, and in the mornings it is hard for me to get out of bed to start the day. I want her to know I love her but I have no desire to be intimate together anymore. Is something wrong with me?
Dear Sad Husband,
I am glad you asked this question. Mental health is a term used to describe how our thoughts and our feelings affect our bodies and our lives. With positive mental health you might feel fulfilled, energetic, and that your life is meaningful. With negative mental health you might feel tired, depressed or other feelings.
February 12-16 was National Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week. We, along with many other organizations across Canada, highlighted the connections between mental health and sexual health. Check out www.srhweek.ca for more information.
Our sexuality is connected to all parts of our lives – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. If we have challenges in one of these parts of our life, our sexuality is also affected. For example, if we have a job that we find meaningful and that contributes to positive mental health, we may feel we have more energy and interest in sexual activity. If we have a job that we don’t enjoy and causes us stress, we may feel less energy and interest in sexual activity.
Many people who struggle with work stress also struggle with being intimate with their partner. The good news is there are resources.
Self-care is an important part of our mental health. Self-care means that you spend some time, hopefully each day, to do something for yourself. This might be taking a walk, getting exercise, reading a book; whatever is meaningful to you and helps you connect with yourself and what you need. It can be a wonderful way to reduce stress.
It may feel hard to talk to people in your life about these struggles. Klinic has a 24 hour phone line that you can call if you want to talk to somebody. This phone call is anonymous, nobody will know who you are. The phone number for this is 204-786-8686. Klinic also has an app that you can download on your phone called Calm in the Storm, which may be helpful.
We encourage you to speak with your health care provider who may also be able to help, if you feel comfortable.
You can also contact your local Community Health Centre, which may have counselling opportunities or other programs that may help you. Mental health is important and people are here who care about you.
All the best,
Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200-226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at www.serc.mb.ca for reliable information and links on the subject of sexuality.