Project love explores impact of love on mental health

All types of love should be celebrated on Valentine's Day, according to a group of psychiatric researchers from Montreal.

Montreal-based initiative spreads love on city streets ahead of Valentine's Day

Project Love hopes to combat loneliness and isolation. (Project Love)

All types of love should be celebrated on Valentine's Day, according to a group of psychiatric researchers from Montreal.

Project Love is an initiative that aims to promote social connection and conversations around love. It also strives to tackle loneliness and social isolation — feelings that sometimes surface around Valentine's Day.

"A kind of motto for the project is love is not just for Valentine's Day, it's for 365 days of the year," Dr. Rob Whitley told CBC Montreal's All in a Weekend.

The idea is to understand how love, or an absence of love, can affect an individual's wellbeing.

Dr. Rob Whitley gives out paper hearts to Montrealers. (Project Love)

"We think the epidemic of loneliness is a real phenomena and something that is concerning many of us in the psychiatric profession," Whitley said.

"We know that social capital, social support, social connection is important for mental health." 

Valentine's Day shouldn't be limited to romantic love, says Whitley. The holiday should include love between family members, friends and colleagues.

It should also celebrate the kind of affection a person can develop for their surroundings, religion or pets.

Project Love wants to spread love on the streets of Montreal (Project Love)

"That's one of the aims of Project Love, to try and extend the conversation, to try and open the focus away from narrow, romantic love," Whitley said.

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