Ending the mental health stigma

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In this day and age, social movements can spark simply from the press of a button on a phone.

We just finished up with Bell’s Let’s Talk day on Jan. 25, one of the biggest movements to come out of the last ten years.

Not only has it raised almost 80 million dollars in the seven years it has been a thing, but it’s also finally started the conversation on mental health in Canada, something that’s been long overdue.

The Let’s Talk movement focuses on four key areas to help promote mental health; anti stigma, care and access, workplace health and research.

Anti-stigma is probably the biggest that Let’s Talk deals with.

I myself didn’t know anyone personally who dealt with mental illness until earlier this year, and it’s been a real eye opener getting to know her.

Before I met her, I was like everyone else. I thought people with mental illness were quiet, reserved, had a hard time being in public and avoided doing it as much as they could.

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But now I know someone who appears strong in public, with loud opinions and the passion to support them, someone who always has a smile on her face and is always asking her friends what they’re up to and if they can get together to do something soon, but also deals with anxiety and depression, and it takes a toll on her when she doesn’t have someone to speak with.

That’s why dealing with the stigma of mental illness is so important.

Depression, anxiety, and any other mental illness don’t make people appear weak.

In the words of one of my heroes growing up, the late Robin Williams, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.”

People with mental illness can often appear to be the strongest of us all, and that’s why removing that stigma is so important.

Aside from removing the stigma, Let’s Talk also uses the money raised to provide better care in hospitals, universities and grassroots movements across the country, they pay for research to be done on the topic, and also encourage better communication in the workplace.

To finish off my little rant, I’ll leave you with one more quote from Williams, who we all know took his own life after his fight with depression.

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

 

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