#BELL LETS TALK
Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 31st, 2018 Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with #BELLLETSTALK, this is an annual electronic event that Bell has started to raise awareness, raise money, and put an end to the stigma surrounding mental health. Since 2011 the movement has snowballed and brought an overwhelming amount of attention to a cause that needs to be TALKED about.
If you go to http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/ you will find “ 5 simple ways to end stigma and start a conversation” these are mine.
To my American readers, Bell is a Canadian company. The movement is global! Start talking!
BELL LETS TALK ABOUT LANGUAGE
Step 1 to ending the stigma is to use proper terminology when it comes to mental health.
This means STOP using derogatory words to describe the mental stability of someone who is suffering. Titles such as crazy/nuts/schitzo/loony are part of the reason why there is a stigma of feeling unaccepted during this this battle. To put it into perspective if you mock someone for their mental health condition, it is no different from mocking someone for being sick with cancer, a heart condition, or any other clinical breach of health. By using such language you are not only discrediting the journey of those who suffer, but you are amplifying the barrier. JUST DON’T. When society begins to treat mental health as a serious sickness, treatments, methods, and recovery will be taken seriously as well. This includes talking. Imagine if reaching out and admitting to your struggle was as easily and accepted as dayquil/nyquil. It is so important to be mindful and accepting to all.
BELL LETS TALK ABOUT GETTING EDUCATED
Step 2 surrounds knowing the facts.
- 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from mental health
Good news: those odds mean that you are not alone
- 49% of those who suffer depression or anxiety do not seek help
Good news: seeking help is a sign of strength not weakness
- A mixture of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
Good news: it may be out of our control to develop, but so in our control to fix
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
Good news: we can stop this by starting the conversation, seeking, and giving help to those in need
BELL LETS TALK ABOUT KINDNESS
Step 3: a way to help dissolve the stigma is as simple as that! BE KIND
Kindness inadvertently helps this cause because it leads to happiness!! Reaching out a helping hand, offering a compliment, even smiling in the right direction emits positivity. It is said so widely across the internet that you need to be kind to all because we are so unaware of each individuals battle behind closed doors. I’m not going to write a list of ways to be kind, because for the most part it’s situational and a result of your own intentions, but I will encourage…
*RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS*
Random acts of kindness are my favourite method because they have an unmeasurable benefit unlike most earthly or material items. Money, gifts, etc. can all be counted or compared. Compliments can be taken loosely, and courtesy can be overlooked. Random acts of kindness have no limit, and the best part is that they are unexpected. Holding a door open for someone is predictable, but paying it forward injects positive energy when it is least expected, and something you aren’t obligated to do. You are choosing to be kind and this demonstrates positivity in its purest form. An act of good is good in any way shape or size, but an act of good becomes GREAT when the intentions behind it are great.
BELL LETS TALK ABOUT LISTENING AND ASKING
Step 4: Know when to ask and know how to listen.
One of the most important components of this five step process is to know how to approach, and when to approach someone who may be suffering in silence. It is easier said than done because often times we have no idea who is struggling because they work so hard to put on a front. Should you notice a change in someone’s behaviour, or have your attention brought to someone who is dealing with hardship, there are neutral ways you can offer an ear without prying. Sometimes people don’t want to be assertive and answer to anyone about their mental health battle because they might feel it will entail constant follow up. Progress comes in steps, the pressure of having someone monitor your progress when you barely feel capable can be overwhelming. In addition to this it is common that someone who is struggling may feel worse assuming they are a burden. Be clear in stating that their happiness, health, and comfortability will never be an obstacle in your life. IT IS OKAY THAT THEY NEED HELP, YOU HAVE HELP TO GIVE.
These statements are all a good ways to offer an invitation of listening:
Is everything ok?
You haven’t seemed like yourself lately, are you doing ok?
Is there anything I can help you with?
You seem down, would you like to talk about it?
If you do encourage these types of conversations be prepared for the weight behind the answers you may receive. If you are going to offer a helping hand, be ready to act upon it. Sometimes people need space, but sometimes they need to vent. If you offer to listen, make sure you listen.
It is also important to know where to draw the line between your capabilities and the added help of a professional. There are a multitude of 24/7 help hotlines that can aid you or a loved one who is struggling if the situation is out of your control.
BELL LETS GET TALKING
Step 5: understand that there are resources because you are never walking alone, because you are loved, because it is okay to not be okay.
If you are in crisis, please go to your local hospital or call 911 immediately.
Canada wide resources:
KidsHelpPhone Ages 20 Years and Under in Canada 1-800-668-6868
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line 1-855-242-3310
Canadian Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419
Trans LifeLine – All Ages 1-877-330-6366
BELL LETS TALK ABOUT YOUR GENEROSITY
I would like to thank Bell on behalf of myself, Ambition Canada, and all of the people that have dealt with or are currently dealing with a mental health struggle for implementing this phenomenal movement. It all starts somewhere, and the growth and awareness that has risen since 2011 is remarkable. Here in 2018, the life of the typical human is largely based on technology. Texts, tweets, and posts are all a casualty in our daily routine. The use of these tools to work towards turning a stigma into something as widely accepted is extraordinary. To use the power of connectivity through your company to initiate change for the greater good demonstrates an inspirational level of corporate social responsibility. It is often noted that bullies now have 24 hour access, and self worth appears to be measured in likes or followers all because of the social media era we are in. Creating a movement that rises up against these electronic connectivity cons, all while disarming them redefines the term ‘technological advancement’. Thank you BELL.