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Today is January 25th. For Canadians, it’s also Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness around mental health. Bell Let’s Talk Day reminds us that talking is the best way to start breaking down the stigmas associated with mental illness. Today is all about opening a respectful dialogue on a topic that is uncomfortable for many to talk about. Let’s open up conversations that may ask us to challenge our understanding and attitudes about mental health and mental illness. Let’s talk.
When we think of “health”, we typically think of nutrition and exercise. So what exactly is mental health? Mental health involves finding balance in all aspects of life: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. How do you find balance in your life?
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Research, one in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life. Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect mood, thoughts, behaviour our everyday well-being. Examples of mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar, eating disorders, and most commonly, anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma around mental illness. In fact, it’s the largest reason why people choose not to seek help. There’s a sense of shame and embarrassment that, sadly, continues to weigh so heavy on some shoulders. We fake smiles to fool ourselves into thinking it’s all okay. We bury our darkest thoughts within ourselves. But mental illness is real and it shouldn’t be ignored.
So how can you help end the stigma against mental illness? Here’s 5 easy things you can do:
Have you ever heard someone jokingly refer to someone else as “schizo”, “crazy” or “bipolar”? Probably. The words we use can sometimes hurt. Being mindful of the language we use is a great first step towards ending the stigma.
Did you know that half a million Canadians have missed work because of mental health problems? Or that mental health is the number one cause of disability claims in Canada? Mental illness is more prevalent then you think.
It’s simple. Everyone is fighting a battle you may not know about. Be kind. Always. We are all human and we are all in this together.
If someone you know seems to be struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. No one should have to suffer alone. You can help by lending an ear, offering support or simply just being there for someone.
Start a conversation. Break the silence. Have you experienced your own mental health struggles? Try sharing your story with someone; they might not feel so alone.
Bell donates 5 cents to mental health programs for each of these interactions at no cost to participants:
Since it began, Bell Let’s Talk Day has raised $80 million for mental health research, anti-stigma campaigns, community-level services and education. Let’s keep it going.