Let’s Talk Mental Health on January 28th

Image via http://www.waypointcentre.ca/news___events/around_waypoint/bell_let_s_talk_day_january_28/

 

There is never a wrong time to talk about mental health. (Even when you’re doing a post about mental health and trying to not sound like an advertisement for Bell.)

This year in Canada, January 28th is Bell Let’s Talk Day. (Bell is part of BCE Inc. and is Canada’s largest communications company.) Bell Let’s Talk is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to mental health and Bell has committed over $67.5 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast to coast.

The 2014 Bell Let’s Talk Day raised $5,472,585.90 more in funding for Canadian mental health, all  from 109,451,718 tweets, texts, calls and shares.

One in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness, yet 2 in 3 of those who struggle will not seek treatment options for fear of judgment or rejection. They may not tell anyone at all that they have a problem because of the stigma. These five ways, developed with Dr. Heather Stuart of Queen’s University, the world’s first chair in anti-stigma research, show how you can help end the stigma of mental health.

Language matters

Words can help…but they can also hurt. Pay attention to the words you use.

How you can help

  • Explain to friends and colleagues who use words like “psycho” or “nut” without thinking that their comments may be hurtful and provide an alternative view.

Educate yourself

Myths exist about mental illness that contribute to stigma. Learn the facts.

How you can help

  • Learn more, know more. Be knowledgeable and help fight stigma with facts.

Be Kind

Small acts of kindness speak volumes.

How you can help

  • Don’t stand by if someone is being labelled or bullied.
  • Treat a person who has a mental illness with the kindness and care you give to people with other illnesses through a friendly smile, a helping hand, a phone call or visit.

Listen and ask

Sometimes it’s best to just listen.

How you can help

  • Don’t trivialize someone’s illness. Instead, say: “I’m sorry to hear that, it must be a difficult time. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Talk about it

Start a dialogue, not a debate.

How you can help

  • Break the silence. Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of lived experience are the best way to help eradicate stigma.
  • Support mental health and anti-stigma programs in your community.

On January 28th, how can you help?

If you live in Canada, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every:

  • Text message sent*
  • Mobile & long distance call made*
  • Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  • Facebook image share

And because there is an *:

By a Bell or Bell Aliant customer only. Regular long distance and text message charges apply

If you don’t live in Canada you can still participate by:

  • tweeting #BellLetsTalk
  • sharing the Bell Let’s Talk Day image on Facebook (found on the toolkit page)
  • downloading the Bell Let’s Talk toolkit
And, most importantly, starting a conversation about, and helping end, the stigma around mental illness.
Advertisements