Photo Submitted

#BellLetstalk Day creates mental health awareness

National initiative encourages dialogue and raises funds for mental health

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day and Canadians are tweeting, text messaging, calling, using Instagram, Facebook posting and Snapchatting their stories to raise mental health awareness and end stigma.

For each post —using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on social media — Bell is donating five cents to community mental health initiatives. Since the program began in 2011, over $86.5 million has been donated to mental health initiatives and over 740,000 individuals have been given access to mental health care.

Every view of this video will also raise five cents for mental health initiatives:

Since the program began, four out of every five Canadians have reported they are more aware of mental health issues.

Despite the success, stigma still remains according to Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Executive Director Christine Stewart.

“I think there is a lot of stigma around mental health and the idea there is something wrong with you if you aren’t feeling okay. I don’t know why that is,” she said. “Why do people feel judged if they need to ask for help?”

Stewart said there is much to be gained by sharing how you are feeling.

“When you let it store up and fester, it can magnify and get worse,” she said.

Stewart explained that changing the dialogue on social media is important, as social media can also contribute negatively to people’s mental health.

“There is an expectation of a perfect life,” she said. “Everyone, especially kids, look on social media and they see these beautiful pictures and all these fun times and they assume people are having fun like that all the time.

“Today is important because it reminds everyone to ask the questions and to not be afraid to reach out.”

By reaching out, Stewart said people may be able to get by the difficult times more easily.

“Everybody sometimes isn’t okay. If you don’t handle those times and get help when you need it, sometimes you can’t move past it,” she said.

She added she does believes initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk have helped to reduce stigma.

“We have been doing a lot of work on this month with Speak Up for Mental Health,” she said. “With that, I can’t believe how many people have come forward and shared their experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts.

“I think people 10 years ago didn’t talk like that. You were just expected to deal.”

Stewart said it is important to keep the dialogue going after Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“That is what is important. People need to feel cared about. We need to ask, ‘How are you doing since your mom died?’ or, ‘How are you doing six months post divorce?’. Sometimes it takes a long time for things to process,” she said.

Stewart said if someone is seeking help, a good place to start is through a family doctor or walk-in clinic. There are also several paid counselling services available.

“I know Vantage Community Services has free drop-in counselling,” she said. “If people call Canadian Mental Health Association, we have support groups and courses that can walk people through when they start feeling down. They can identify those first symptoms of not feeling well so they can help bring themselves back up again.”

She added, “We appreciate all the awareness that happens today and we remind people to continue it all year. Check on the people around you and make sure they are doing alright.”

Here is a link to the CMHA’s comprehensive list of mental health resources available to Central Albertans.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

Like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedDeerExpress/ and follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/RedDeerExpress.

Just Posted

Red Deer Riggers win home tournament at Great Chief

11-1 win over Sherwood Park A’s seals statement tournament for Riggers

WATCH: Chuckwagon races wrap up at Westerner Days

Reed Rosencrans was the 2018 champion of the chuckwagon races in Red Deer

WATCH: Joe Hittel is the number one fundraiser in Northern Alberta for Rope for Hope

Hittel of Red Deer raised $14,000 for Make A Wish event

Watch: Westerner Days in full swing

The heat and the thunderstorms didn’t stop anybody

The Expo Wheel ride a no-go at Westerner Days

Red Deerians take in Westerner Days all week long

Update: Police probe Toronto shooting that killed 2, injured 12; suspected gunman dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Hadfield, Rogen, Virtue and Moir among Canada’s Walk of Fame inductees

10 people will be recognized at a ceremony slated for December

Deadly L.A. market shooting started with domestic feud

A domestic incident ended after a car crashed into a pole outside Trader Joe’s market

Sunken duck boat to be raised after deadly Missouri accident

17 people died over the weekend in a deadly boat incident

Record high in Japan as heat wave grips the region

The temperature in a city north of Tokyo reached 41.1 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, the highest ever recorded in Japan.

Feds looking at ways to tackle wave of gun violence in Toronto: Minister

Toronto mayor John Tory spoke to the press following a mass casualty event in Toronto.

Soaring temperatures, high winds could worsen fires in B.C.’s southern Interior

Environment Canada’s forecast for the next week in the southern Interior does not inspire confidence, with temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting over 40 kilometres per hour.

Iran dismisses Trump’s explosive threat to country’s leader

Trump tweeted late on Sunday that hostile threats from Iran could bring dire consequences.

Most Read