How I help others

How I help others needs to be a benefit to both myself and those who I am trying my best to help. That’s why one-on-one works best for me.

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Personally, I find that living in such a divided world makes Mental Health advocation challenging. And as if that weren’t bad enough, just about every category you can think of in modern society is so sharply divided, that it can be hard to wrap your head around it all. Sadly, every social category divided is causing mental-illness rates to rise.

The virus is the earthquake. The mental health crisis is the tsunami.

However, does that mean we should stop trying to help others who are suffering from Mental Health conditions? My position on the matter is no. Everyone is worthy and, in this world, nearly everyone needs a compassionate ear.

With that said, how the heck does one make a difference in such oppositional times? Well, from my own experience it’s not easy. Nonetheless, it can be done. First, you must look out for your own mental wellbeing in order to effectively help others. So, be sure you’re able to dedicate time and therapy to your own mental energy stores.

The benefits of helping others

Okay, so what’s in this post? I would like to lay out my approach to helping and what I feel are the best ways to reach people. But before I do that, a little disclaimer: I am not claiming that these are absolute solutions to any problem whatsoever. They are simply things that I have found effective. So, feel free to try them…or not.

Firstly, my experience and background have taught me so much about human behaviour and as a result, I’ve had some pretty good luck helping others. While having an addictions counseling background certainly helps, my years of experience with behavior modification and working with people with severe behaviors and mental illness has proven to be even better experience.

In addition to my years working in this unique field, I also spent some considerable time in the political arena, volunteering with a political party.

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And lastly, many of you know that I have spent 15 years in the fire service. This experience, while the principal driver of my post-traumatic stress disorder, has taught me how to help people in the most tragic and urgent of circumstances.

Because of my years of unique experiences, I feel like I’ve accumulated some wisdom and skill. And that’s resulted in a vast array of tools at my disposal. Skill-sets that can make a real difference.

Additionally, this accumulated wisdom has taught me that trying to take on the world in terms of fighting for change, is the best way to destroy one’s Mental Health. This “you against the world” approach can make you feel like the following.

  • Overwhelmed.
  • Constantly anxious and stressed. (Not good to be in this state more often than you are not.)
  • Like a failure.
  • Feeling little reward or satisfaction.
  • Frustration and anger, with political processes that hinder social progress,
  • Anxiety and overall sense of anger, exacerbated by taking on the world through the lens of social media.


Once you become angrier more often than helpful, you run the risk of becoming cynical and reactive. This can allow our emotions to run the show. Logic then becomes the passenger and thus has little control over what happens next. As a result, we can often become locked in an emotional/algorithmic whirlwind that finds us often defending a belief that makes us see only our own perspective. Anger and hate will never help anyone.

I’m not suggesting that you should not take this route. There are many issues in society that need champions. However, it’s important to understand that it can be self-sacrificing, especially if self-care is neglected.

How I help others

So then, how do I continue to help the world while minimizing the impact on my mental health? Through my years, I have found that I’ve been much more effective helping people on an individual level. Not only do I find it more effective, but it’s also more satisfying and rewarding, even inspiring.

As a bonus, it has also been so much gentler on my mental health. As I’ve said many times before, life is all about finding balance and what approaches work best for any one individual.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Personally, I want to continue my life-long passion for helping others without destroying my limited progress in my own healing journey. Hence, the one-on-one approach, it’s perfect for me.

Writing fits this approach perfectly. In my view, authoring a book is the ultimate form of helping others because it’s a personal and intimate experience for the reader. Many like to find a cosy spot to curl up and read and get to know the words, the meaning, and the feel of what they are reading.

In my case, my book, The Road To Mental Wellness, is about my lifelong battle with mental illness, and the trials and triumphs that have come along with it.

My intent is to help others by telling my story – so it’s my hope that people get intimately acquainted with my story and find it helpful and inspiring. Thankfully, the reviews that I have received thus far seem to suggest that I have hit the mark. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that people are finding my book inspirational and helpful.

Find a way to help others that helps you too.

Similarly, one-on-one can be rewarding, because if your help is administered correctly, you can help to inspire another person to take charge of their mental health and begin their own healing adventure down the road to mental wellness… I know that as a bonus, it gives my own mental well-being a boost, a win/win for both.

So, in short, the world’s problems are bigger than you and me. Therefore, we can’t take it all on at once. But what we can do, is make a difference in the lives of people we meet along our own wellness journey.

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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