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Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let’s Talk Day

Jan 31, 2018

Mental health is an imperative discussion to be had especially today when we stand against the stigma of mental health with Bell Let’s Talk Day, a unique initiative geared to open up the conversation about mental health and the various support systems geared to bring this conversation to the forefront.  

Mental illness. Two words that generate different emotions; from indifference to compassion to fear or discomfort. Mental illness comes in many forms; depression for example is one. Some of us understand the severity of depression while others may be surprised by the previous sentence; the description of depression as an illness is still a new insight for many. For years there’s been a stigma around depression, a denial of its existence; isn’t depression just a bad mood? Isn’t it an emotion which can be easily overcome, perhaps with the help of some chocolate cake? The reality is that depression is not merely a bad mood; it’s a mental illness that is present in millions of people worldwide.

 

Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let's Talk Day
Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let’s Talk Day: Depression is a treatable form of mental illness. Photo Credit: www.psychcentral.com

 

Approximately seven per cent of adults in the United States experience a depressive episode, eight per cent of adults in Canada, 10 per cent of people in India, almost 19 per cent in the United Kingdom (depression and anxiety combined) have experienced depression. As we look at these numbers we must remember depression is one of the many forms of illness related to mental health. Other forms of illness include anxiety disorders, bipolar disease and schizophrenia (to name a few). The conversation is important not only to create a stigma-free environment for those diagnosed but to offer support to the family, friends and colleagues that may be impacted.

So how do we begin the conversation? How do we decide what to share? How can we make others feel comfortable to both speak and listen? How do we learn the appropriate language to use?

The first step is to acknowledge mental health can be an intimidating topic. Fortunately, there are several ways we can empower ourselves to participate in the discussion. One of the helpful platforms is the Bell Let’s Talk Day initiative. As part of the way ANOKHI supports creating a stigma-free environment, we’re providing an overview on the Bell campaign with tips on how to get involved.

 

What Exactly Is Bell Let’s Talk Day?

Launched in 2010 by Bell Media in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk Day is a campaign designed to support mental health by promoting awareness and action with a commitment to four pillars; anti-stigma, care and access, research and workplace help.

 

Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let's Talk Day
Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let’s Talk Day: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about it. Photo Credit: www.ctvnews.ca

 

The first pillar of the campaign (anti-stigma) represents what Bell describes as one of the largest challenges for someone with a mental illness; the stigma that can be attached to it. A key step towards a solution is ensuring we are not judging those who bravely share their stories. Bell promotes the importance of encouraging honest, compassionate conversation. To learn from others and be able to help, we have to create a safe, barrier-free environment that will encourage open dialogue.

Available on the Bell Let’s Talk website are short videos (including some celebrity testimonials) and blog-style posts from people with lived experiences. There’s a variety to choose from and what they all have in common is they are inspiring stories, engaging testimonials that are easy to follow.

 

How Can You Get Involved?

  • Educate yourself. Browse the Bell Let’s Talk Day website to learn more about mental health. Watch some of the video testimonials, read the personal stories and share them with your family, friends and colleagues.

 

  • Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let's Talk Day
    Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let’s Talk Day: Pay attention to your words; speak with compassion. Photo Credit: www.letstalk.bell.ca

     

  • Be mindful of your language. Gone should be the days we use words like crazy, manic or depressed in a casual or humorous manner. In Canada alone, as reported by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, one out of five Canadians experience a mental illness every year and that’s certainly no laughing manner. That being said, we can be a part of the solution by taking a compassionate approach in all our conversations. The CAMH website is another great, free resource to learn more about the appropriate language and different forms of mental illness. An added bonus is the information is available at no-charge in several different languages

 

  • Host a conversation. Not sure how to start? Download the free Conversation Guide from the webpage. A short PowerPoint presentation, it includes guidelines and tips on how to lead a conversation around mental health.

 

  • Join the conversation on social media. You may have noticed an awareness campaign for Bell Let’s Talk Day on your social media platforms. To-date, it’s had 700 million interactions from people around the world; use your platforms and join the conversation. As an added incentive, Bell Media contribute five cents for every applicable tweet, social media video view, Facebook frame, Snapchat filter, text or call they receive. Five cents may seem like a little but with the participation of millions, it’s one of the ways Bell has been able to donate $86.5 million to mental health initiatives and that’s no chump change!

 

Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let's Talk Day
Stand Against The Stigma Of Mental Health With Bell Let’s Talk Day: Stand against stigma with open conversation. Photo Credit: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

 

  • Keep the conversation going! Bell Let’s Talk Day is a great campaign to participate in but with millions of people impacted by mental illness, it’s important we understand mental health is an on-going topic. Look up ways to get involved in your community, keep posting on mental health across your social media, practice kindness and compassion when speaking with others and ensure you listen without judgement. Most importantly, ensure you’re leading by example through prioritizing your own mental health and self-care practices.

 

Main Image Photo Credit: UC Berkeley News 

 

Rachna Sethi

Rachna Sethi

Author

Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...

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