Mental health is becoming more and more prominent in today's society.
The bad social stigma that used to surround mental illness is starting to lift, but we still have a lot of work to do.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from mental illness? And more than that will know someone who is affected. So why is it looked upon with such disdain?
Bell Let's Talk day aims to end the stigma associated with mental illness and create a more open dialogue. Education is important and the more people are aware of it, the less it will be viewed as a weakness. It's often a misconception that mental illness means "crazy" or "psycho." But mental illness can come in all shapes and forms. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, bipolar, and addiction all fall under the blanket of mental illness. When you stop to think about the different forms, you would be hard pressed to find a person who has not been affected by mental illness.
On January 25, the media corporation Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health awareness for the following:
- Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers;
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk;
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk
- Instagram: Every post using #BellLetsTalk
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let's Talk Snapchat geofilter
In 2016, this campaign raised more than $6.2 million for Canadian mental health. Over the last six years, almost $80 million has been raised, which puts the campaign well on its way to a target of $100 million by the end of 2020.
"Bell Let's Talk Day fights the pervasive stigma around mental illness by inviting everyone to get engaged, and to keep on talking about this critical national health concern every day", said BCE and Bell Canada president and CEO George Cope. "By joining the conversation on Bell Let's Talk Day, you directly drive Bell's funding for Canadian mental health, expanding proven frontline programs and launching innovative new approaches in care, research and workplace leadership."
This push towards mental health awareness is starting to reach more people, especially with organizations like Do If For Daron (D.I.F.D.), which focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention in youth.
Many well-known Canadians take part in this incredible day such as:
- Clara Hughes, Canadian Olympic Champion in speed-skating and cycling
- Michael Landsberg, TSN sports broadcaster
- Etienne Boulay, former Montreal Alouettes player
- Howie Mandel, comedian and judge on America's Got Talent
- Serena Ryder, triple-platinum and aware winning recording artist
The hope is that showcasing people who are battling mental illness but are still in the public eye, people will realize how common mental illness is and understand the misconception of mentally ill people being "strange" is far from the truth.
As someone who has had my own personal battles with mental illness, I look forward to this day every year to see how much support is truly out there for everyone who is battling. By talking about mental illness more openly, we can all end the stigma and make the world a more compassionate and loving place.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, check out these resources to get more information on who you can reach out to.