Today is an important day; a day that has become one of my favourite days to get on social media and tweet until my thumbs hurt - #BellLetsTalk day. If this day is new to you - lemme break it down for ya....
For every text, tweet, instagram sent using #BellLetsTalk or use of the snapchat geofilter, Bell will donate 5 cents towards mental health initiative. This is huge! Over the past few years I feel like we've made huge strides in ending the stigma around mental illness but there's still so much work to do. When there are still people who don't understand the crippling effects anxiety can have one someone's ability to do simple day to day tasks, or know that depression isn't something you can just "snap out of", or realize that there are people out there dealing with bipolar, obsessive compulsive and other mental illnesses - we need to continue to be open about sharing our own struggles, or willing to admit that we need to learn more about others'.
It's been estimated that at least 20% of all Canadians will experience some form of mental illness at some point in their life * and if we're being honest, I'd say almost all of us will be affected by mental illness at some point either through our own experience, or in helping or suffering with a friend or family member who has their own struggles. Today I want to encourage you to text, tweet, get on social media and share away all in support of a good cause. But in addition to today, probably the number one thing that you can do is to just be more aware and more sensitive. Smile at a stranger. Give a friend a compliment. Go visit your grandparents who may be lonely. Send a friend a card just to say hi. We all go through tough times and you never know what a huge difference a small action can make in someone else's day. Despite how beautiful it can be, the winter can be especially tough with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or the "winter blues" taking its toll.
Whether situational or chemical, depression or anxiety is a hurdle that so many people silently struggle with every day. I know so many people who use phrases like "I'm so OCD" without realizing how insensitive that can be to someone who actually suffers with it. Same goes with bipolar - using the term "that person is so bipolar" (which I've heard many people use) isn't fair when there are people struggling with their own brain chemistry, trying to keep their own actions and emotions in check through the use of medications and various therapies. Abuse victims, people suffering with PTSD and others struggling with any form of mental illness deserve our understanding, patience and kindness and I'm so glad that there are initiatives such as the one happening today to try to increase awareness, decrease the discomfort and stigma around mental illness, and create safe environments for others to share their struggles and stories.
If you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources - here are just a few
If traditional counselling or therapy is intimidating, not possible or cost prohibitive there are lots of online options out there. Check out
I'd just like to note that this post isn't sponsored or endorsed by Bell or Bell Lets Talk Day at all. We all have either personally struggled, or known someone who has struggled with their mental health either long term or even for a short period of time. Today's a great day to take a little extra time to give thanks for your mental health or to seek out help if need be. Talking about it is the first step