In any normal year, one in every five Canadians is affected by a mental health issue or illness. But the last 11 months have been anything but normal. The stress, anxiety, fear, and loss brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health and well-being for most of us. And with research suggesting many of us will still be struggling long after a vaccine is available, now more than ever it is vital we normalize mental health issues.
We all have an important role to play when it comes to breaking down negative or discriminatory attitudes others have around mental health. With the challenges we’ve all faced during COVID-19, today more than ever it’s likely that the face of someone dealing with a mental health issue is that of your neighbour, your colleague, your friend, your loved one – even you. And while not all of us need to seek help, those who do are still reluctant because of the stigma that still exists.
This is why campaigns like Bell’s Let’s Talk Day on January 28th are so important. For more than a decade, this campaign has been helping normalize mental health issues and promote better awareness and understanding through conversation. And while showing support for Bell Let’s Talk Day via social media or donation helps, candid and important mental health conversations need to happen all year round. Here are five simple ways to start a conversation and help end the stigma:
And during these challenging times there are also lots of things we can do to look after our own mental health and help others who may need some extra support and care.
Let’s join in the conversation today and every day and do our part to help end the stigma around mental health.
OpenMindBC.ca – developed by Doctors of BC, this website acts as a portal to an abundance of tools and resources developed by a range of mental health organizations in BC and across Canada.
Reaching Out: Supporting Youth Mental Health in British Columbia – this policy paper contains a number of commitments and recommendations which support Doctors of BC’s policy of raising awareness of mental illness in the province.
The Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Toolbox – A legacy of the CYMHSU Collaborative, this ‘one-stop-shop’ of tools and resources helps improve access and care for children, youth and families facing challenges with mental health and substance use in BC.
Canadian Mental Health Association – The CMHA British Columbia Division has a number of resources, including information on youth mental health, university workshop information, and crisis care support.
HereToHelp BC – A project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information, HereToHelp provides information about mental health and substance abuse.
Mental Health Commission of Canada – The MHCC has a wide range of tools aimed at improving the mental well-being of all people living in Canada.