Bell Let’s Talk 2019
Each year at the end of January, Bell Canada encourages people across the country to “join the conversation” and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness through their awareness campaign called Bell Let’s Talk.
This year, Bell Let’s Talk Day is on January 30th. On this day, Bell Canada will be donating five cents to mental health programs for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Since launching the Bell Let’s Talk initiative in 2011, Bell Canada has donated over 93 million dollars towards mental health programs across the country!
Although Bell Let’s Talk is held on one day of the year, the goal is to help keep the conversation going all year long and make every day a day that it is okay to talk about mental health.
There are important reasons to start talking about mental health. With one in five Canadians experiencing a mental illness at some point in their life, mental illness is considered one of the most widespread health issues in the country. Even though it is prevalent and it touches the lives of many individuals, harmful stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental illness still exist. In fact, fear and shame are the most common reasons for not seeking help or treatment because individuals often recognize the negative stigma and discrimination associated with having a mental illness. This causes fear and concern of being labeled as someone who has a mental illness and how such a label could negatively impact their career, education, or other life goals.
The Bell Let’s Talk website shares information on 5 ways you can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness:
- 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 aren’t 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, asking how you can help, and sometimes just 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 experiences mental health issues and who are doing well can really challenge stereotypes. Most people with mental health issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.
Consider using one or more of these strategies moving forward. Making even one small step towards reducing stigma can have a big impact.
The stigma associated with mental illness can often be more difficult to deal with than the illness itself. It can seriously affect the well-being of those who experience it. It can affect them while they are ill, while they are in treatment, while they are healing, and long after they have recovered. Stigma can also damage how people feel about themselves and how others see them.
Therefore, as you keep the conversation going, remember to treat everyone with respect. Be warm, caring and non-judgmental. Challenge stigma when you see it, and help raise awareness about mental health by learning the facts and educating the people around you.
For more information on Bell Let’s Talk, please go to the following website: https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/
For more information on mental illness and mental health, please go to the following website: www.camh.ca
If you are looking for help or someone to speak to about your mental health, please consider using the following resources:
Marathon Family Health Team: 807-229-3243
North of Superior Counseling Programs: 807-229-0607
Biigtigong Mno-zhi-yaagamig Health Centre: 807-229-1836
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care: 807-822-2521
Pic Mobert Health Centre: 807-822-2625
People Advocating for Change through Empowerment (PACE): 807-229-0357
Online support (i.e. Big White Wall): www.bigwhitewall.com
Crisis Response 24/7 Hotline (i.e. Connex Ontario): 1-866-531-2600