Mental Health Week Questions with Dr. Tammy McKnight

WestJet
By WestJet | | 3 min read

At WestJet we are proud to participate in Mental Health Week, a Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) annual initiative. It’s an important opportunity to build awareness and decrease stigma surrounding mental health and illness. This year, we sat down with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. McKnight to ask her mental health related questions.

What can I do if my mental health is struggling?

One of the most important things you can do is seek support from trusted friends and family and have those important conversations to ask for help if it’s needed. It’s also imperative to keep healthy habits around sleeping, eating healthy foods and regular exercise.

How can I improve my mental health (and maintain it)?

To improve your mental health, spend time thinking about it and check in with yourself regularly. Be honest with yourself on how you’re really doing. Again, prioritize healthy habits, get outside, and turn off your devices when possible. Seek support if needed, talking openly about mental health without shame is one of the most important things we can do for one another.

How do I know when I need to see a doctor about my mental health?

Unfortunately, people often wait too long to see a family doctor when it comes to mental health issues, thinking that it’s something they will snap out of. Getting access to help early will really improve your outcome. If you’re having symptoms that are interfering with your day-to-day functioning, whether that’s relationships, work, sleep or appetite, it’s time to seek help from a professional.

How can I cope with the stress and anxiety I’m experiencing because of the pandemic?

One of the healthiest ways to deal with stress and anxiety is to talk about it, by seeking support from your caring relationships. Check in with yourself often and maintain your healthy habits. It’s important for us to prioritize and balance our mental well-being the same way we do our physical.

Why might I feel anxious about returning to “normal life” after the pandemic?

The last year has been challenging for so many reasons - it’s normal to feel anxious. While we are optimistic that the end of the pandemic is in sight, we aren’t going to go back to normal overnight. We can take some comfort in knowing it will be a gradual return.

How can I prepare mentally for travel again? It's been a year!

My biggest advice for returning to travel is research before you go and plan well in advance, the more knowledge we have the more power we have. Removing elements of surprise can add a lot of comfort.

Remember getting your vaccine will protect you against COVID and allow you to enjoy travel with less anxiety. As for getting back on an airplane, we’ve always put your safety above all, so you can enjoy the journey.

If you are looking for support and resources, visit https://mentalhealthweek.ca/.

Dr. Tammy McKnight Dr. Tammy McKnight