January 30th is Bell Let’s Talk Day. For every text message sent by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate 5 cents toward mental health initiatives. Even if you are not a Bell customer, there are other ways to help.
It’s a fact: One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma. It is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.
Developed in partnership with Dr. Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair at Queen's University, here are 5 simple ways to help end the stigma that keeps too many who struggle with mental illness from seeking the help they need.
Language Matters – The words you use can make all the difference. Words can help but they can also hurt.
Educate Yourself – Stigma has been around for a long time, and knowing the facts and myths about mental illness can be a great way to help end the stigma. Read about facts and myths, and become a stigma buster.
Be kind – Simple kindness can make a world of difference. Whether it be a smile, being a good listener or an invitation for coffee and a chat, these simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.
Expressions like “You’ll get over it” and “Just relax” can minimize how a person is feeling. Instead offer your support and say “I’m sorry you are feeling well.” Ask what you can do to help.
Listen and ask – mental illness is a very common form of human pain and suffering. Being a good listener and asking how you can help, sometimes jest even being there for people you care about can be the first step in recovery.
Talk About It – Break the silence. Mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of people who have experienced mental health issues and who are doing well and really challenge stereotypes. Most people with mental health issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.
For more information on Bell Let’s Talk Day and what you can do to help year round, go to https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/
Adapted from https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/ways-to-help