Sometimes, living with a mental illness can seem like a burden that’s almost impossible to bare. Sometimes, living with a mental illness can make you feel like you’re watching your entire life play out in front of you, but just out of reach, like you can’t do anything to make an impact either positive or negative. Sometimes, living with a mental illness can feel like you’re drowning. Sometimes it can overwhelm you completely. For these reasons, Bell Let’s Talk has set up an initiative to get the conversation about mental health started, and to help organizations in Canada along the way.
On January 25th, the hashtag #BellLetsTalk holds more importance than ever as it spreads across various forms of social media and with each share, 5 cents is donated to mental health initiatives in Canada. So far, with a little under 4 hours to go,105,346,052 overall interactions have been made which means an impressive amount of money has been raised. The ease in which this money is raised is incredibly important, but even more so, is the window it opens for those who may be living with a mental illness in silence.
Bell Let’s Talk has 4 pillars that they are using to keep moving mental health forward; anti-stigma, care & access, workplace health, and research. These pillars, upon being strengthened, will serve as the foundation to making it easier to not only live with but to ask for help involving mental illnesses. The first, and perhaps most important, is anti-stigma.
The stigma around mental health illness is one that’s incredibly unfortunate for a number of reasons. You can’t see a mental health problem, you can’t see the way it eats at a person from the inside out. Yes, there are some physical symptoms due to a lack of sleep, rest, and a number of other problems that coincide with mental health struggles, but in most instances, people expect those suffering to just ‘write it off’ or to ‘get thicker skin’. Some people still don’t think mental illnesses are real, they think of them as excuses instead.
Days like January 25th and organizations like Bell Let’s Talk are changing those illusions and we can do our part today, and every day, by sharing our own stories if we have them or offering kindness and compassion to those who do. Sometimes, just saying the words “I have a mental illness” are enough to get a conversation started and sometimes, one conversation is all it takes to change someone’s life.
In an attempt to be part of that conversation, we wanted to start one ourselves. In dealing with depression and struggling with an eating disorder, some days the act of getting out of bed seems impossible. There are days that seem dark, even when the sun is shining, and there are days that seem to never end. However, there are also days where a friend understands and offers help in the form of a kind word, a sweet hug, or sometimes, just being present at all.
If you understand and struggle too, please know that you’re not alone. You’re braver than you know and your story doesn’t have to be one you carry on your shoulders alone.
Did you take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day? There’s still time. Tweet the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and tag us in it too.