On January 25, let's talk.

This conversation is not new to me! For those who are not aware, mental illness has afflicted those so very close to me. I know that the stigma can be more difficult than the illness. In honour of someone so very close to me and in memory of my son and his father I share with you the message “Let’s Talk”. One in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness. Mental illness affects any age, class, culture, famous and not so famous. It’s someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, daughter or son - those who also have talents, strengths and wisdom. Stigma is an attitude and discrimination is a result. The risk of talking and asking for help seems huge, but by deciding not to talk, you're closing the door for your link to support. We need to take "Let's Talk" to the next level and let’s act, so that we can fund mental health research, improve services and support and end the stigma.

5 Ways You Can Help:

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 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 and asking how you can help, sometimes just even being there for people you care about, can be the first step in recovery.

Here are a few examples of what to ask:

  • I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
  • I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down lately.
  • Is everything ok?
  • How can I help?

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 can really challenge stereotypes. Most people with mental health issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about mental illness. Knowing what to say or how to say it isn’t obvious. To help you, Bell Let's Talk created a simple conversation guide that can be used to talk with someone you might be concerned about.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE HERE (courtesy "Bell Let's Talk)

Please join me on January 25 and let’s feel free to talk all year long!