This post is also available in: French
Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. It is a Canadian-based initiative that brings attention to the stigma associated with mental health. One of the spokespeople for this annual campaign on mental health issues is Olympian Clara Hughes. She has won six Olympic medals for cycling and speed skating; yes, that’s two sports and six medals! Very impressive.
As for mental health, Clara has wise words to share on the topic:
There’s an incredible stigma attached to mental health issues, to mental illness, because it’s so invisible
The above quote from Clara is just one of many excellent ones that I could have inserted into this post.
The Fearless Clara Hughes
Clara Hughes has spoken publicly about her struggles with depression, on Bell Let’s Talk Day and beyond. The fact that mental illnesses, such as depression, are invisible, unlike many other illnesses, is often what causes it to be misunderstood by onlookers. They may question, is it real? Is the person faking it? Is it all made up?
And then there are people who tell someone who has depression to just “cheer up” or get back to work. If only it were that simple.
It’s not as easy a solution as that, unfortunately. So now you understand how the mental health stigma continues to exist in Canada and many parts of the world… and why Bell Let’s Talk Day is a must. In fact, words like “cheer up” can actually cause somebody with mental illness to feel:
Many times it’s a mix of all three emotions. I speak from experience and currently take antidepressants.
Bell Let’s Talk Day: What You Can Do
Today, on Bell Let’s Talk Day, you can make a difference in helping to end the stigma that is still associated with mental illness. The purpose of this special day is also to increase awareness about mental health issues and discuss related attitudes. I also hope that this day will prompt those who are suffering alone to realize it’s okay to reach out for help; doing so is brave, not weak.
And you can make a difference with your social media shares too. Here’s how: The company Bell will donate $.05 toward mental health initiatives every time you send a tweet that includes the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. So, I will add the hashtag when I share this post on Twitter and urge you to do the same.
As well, if you are a Bell Mobility subscriber, every mobile, long-distance call, and text message that you make on Bell Let’s Talk Day will trigger a $.05 contribution from the company toward Canadian mental health programs.