TOMORROW marks the 8th Bell Let’s Talk Day– An initiative where millions of people in Canada and around the world send messages of support and encouragement to those struggling with mental illness. On January 31, Bell Let’s Talk 2018, for every online interaction that ends with #BellLetsTalk, 5 cents will be donated to Canadian Mental Health Programs.
In 2017 alone, Bell raised over 6.5 million dollars for these programs, totalling $86 million over the last 7 years. #BellLetsTalk has become Canada’s most used Hashtag! By 2020, Bell hopes to reach $100 million in donations, an amazing goal that I am sure they will achieve.
In an attempt to break the stigma, here is something you may not have known about me, because I keep it pretty private. I, personally, struggled with extreme anxiety and several episodes of panic during 2017. I am currently still taking medication to help me cope with my anxiety. At first, this seemed like the end of the world, until I put it into perspective: 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a Mental Illness in their lifetime. What I am experiencing is completely normal, and I have learned so much about dealing with anxiety in the past year. At first this label made me feel weak, but now having overcome so much despite my anxiety just makes me feel stronger than ever.
Here are 5 simple ways to end stigma and start a conversation:
- Language Matters- The words you use can make all the difference. Words can help but they can also hurt.
- Educate Yourself- When it comes to mental illness, education is key. Having the right tools, knowing the right words to use and understanding how to correctly speak with someone experiencing a mental illness can make all the differences very important.
- Kindness Is Key- Simple kindness can make a world of a difference. Whether it be a smile, being a good listener or an invitation for a chat over coffee, these simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you’re there for them. Expressions like “You’ll get over it” and “Just relax” can hurt more than help. Instead, offer your support and say “I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well” or better yet, ask what you can do to help.
- Listen & Ask- 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.
- Talk About It- Break the silence. Two out of three people suffer in silence, fearing judgement and rejection. Being open to a conversation is the first step towards eliminating stigma. Know the facts, be kind, be a good listener and friend. Be part of the conversation to eliminate stigma once and for all.
During Bell Let’s Talk 2018 (Jan 31st), Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian Mental Health Programs for all of the following interactions:
- Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers.
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk (including Retweets)
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk 2018 video at: https://www.facebook.com/BellLetsTalk (Including Shares)
- Instagram: Every post using #BellLetsTalk
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk 2018 Snapchat Geo-filter
On Instagram and Twitter, start the conversation about mental health and end your post with #BellLetsTalk. For every Retweet or RePost you get, Bell will donate an additional 5 cents to the cause! If you are not comfortable starting a conversation, no problem! Simply Retweet other people’s words and join in on the conversations that other people have started.
Participating in Bell Let’s Talk 2018 is completely free and can make a huge difference in the lives of those struggling with Mental Health.
How will you be joining in the conversation? Be sure to tag @SatisfyHerSoul if you choose to use Twitter so I can Retweet each and every one of your Bell Let’s Talk 2018 tweets! I can’t wait to crush the stigma and crush Bell’s fundraising goals.
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