Mental health can be a difficult topic to talk about. It often comes with stigma, shame, embarrassment and fear of judgement or disapproval from others. Talking about mental health is taboo in many cultures and many of us are raised to believe that it’s a private topic that shouldn’t be shared. The fact is, about 20% of Canadians struggle with mental illness. This number is much higher for students. Globally, at least 10% of the population has struggled, is currently struggling, or will struggle with mental illness. Mental illness is common and can affect anyone.
Mental health, like physical health, can cause concerns from time to time. Similar to having a common cold, people can have short-term periods of heightened anxiety or depression. Mental health concerns become mental illness when diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions. Similar to physical health conditions, mental illness present in many different forms. Types of mental illness include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and addictive disorders. Most mental illnesses will not improve on their own but can be managed with help from a doctor or mental health professional. Treatment and management include medication, therapy and hospital or residential treatment programs.
Normalizing conversations around mental health empowers people to share their experiences and get the help that they need. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, and chances are, you know somebody who struggles with mental illness. When we’re open and honest about our mental health struggles, it empowers others to do the same and helps to create a culture of acceptance around mental illness.
Talking about mental health also helps people to recognize where there is a lack of mental health resources or support services in our communities. It allows us to hold our governments and community organizations accountable and ensure that everyone is able to access the help that they need.
On January 28th, join the conversation with Bell Let’s Talk and help normalize conversations around mental health. For more ways you can help,
Not ready to join the conversation? That’s Okay.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are support options available to you.
If you’re experiencing a crisis, HERE247 is an addictions, mental health and crisis services hotline for individuals in the Waterloo Region.
Call them any time at this number: 1-844-437-3247
Befrienders Worldwide is a resource that can connect you to mental health and crisis hotlines no matter where you are in the world.