Mental Illness: Let's talk about it
I woke up today and after scrolling through my phone, I noticed that today was “Blue Monday”, the supposed most depressing day of the year. The formula used to calculate this uses many factors, including weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions and low motivational levels. Without questioning this formula's viability, there is no denying that January and February are difficult months, especially for those dealing with mental illness.
Just like physical illnesses, mental illnesses can take many forms and refer to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect your mood, thoughts and behaviour. Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.
It comes as no surprise that the Bell Let’s talk campaign is annually held at the end of January. For those not familiar, the campaign is the single largest corporate commitment to mental health in Canada. Not only does the campaign raise millions of dollars towards mental health care, it has also managed to reduce the stigma by 75% (as per BCE.ca).
If you have any signs of a mental illness, see your primary care provider or mental health specialist. Most mental illnesses don't improve on their own, and if untreated, it may get worse over time and cause serious problems such as suicidal thoughts and behaviour. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention 1-833-456-4566 (in Canada) 1-800-273-8255 (U.S.A), calling your mental health specialist, or by reaching out to a close friend or loved one.
If your loved one shows signs of mental illness, have an open and honest discussion with him or her about your concerns. You may not be able to force someone to get professional help, but you can offer encouragement and support, or help them find a qualified mental health provider.
There's no sure way to prevent mental illness. However, if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control. Get routine medical care and get help when you need it.
Finally, take good care of yourself by getting sufficient sleep, eating healthy and exercising regularly. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is instrumental in your mental health. Talk to your health care provider if you have trouble sleeping or if you have questions about diet and physical activity. Visit the mayoclinic.org for more information regarding mental illness.
The Bell let’s talk day is Wednesday, January 30, 2019. You can easily help, for every text message sent by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate 5¢ towards mental health initiatives. If you are enrolled with another provider, fear not,Bell will donate 5¢ per tweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.
This is the time of the year where we need to make a conscious effort to help others, and be kind. Mental illness is a very common form of human pain and suffering. Being a good listener and asking how you can help or simply just being there for people you care about can be the first step to recovery. Two out of three people suffer in silence, fearing judgement and rejection. Being open to a conversation is the first step towards eliminating the stigma.
Know the facts, be kind, be a good listener and a friend. Be part of the conversation to eliminate the stigma once and for all. For more information regarding this campaign, visit https://letstalk.bell.ca