Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bell Let's Talk Day: Help Reduce the Stigma of Mental Health

Image taken from
Today, January 28th, is Bell's Let's Talk Day click here for full details.

Here's How it Works:
Today, Bell will donate 5 cents to help mental health initiatives, for every:
  •  Text message sent 
  •  Every mobile long distance calls made
  •  Tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk
  •  Facebook share of the Bell Lets Talk logo image

Get the Facts:

  • 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from mental health or addiction problem
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
  • Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.
  • Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year – an average of 11 suicides a day.
  • After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-19
  • Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.
 *Disclaimer - The above facts and statistics have been directly copy and pasted from the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) website, for further information on the origin of these statistics, click here.

My Thoughts:
These numbers NEED to change and it's up to US to help reduce the stigma that continues to surround Mental Health.

A very wise individual used this analogy once- "You wouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about a broken leg, so why is it that we seem to be so uncomfortable discussing Mental Illness?"

Mental Illnesses aren't a choice anymore than it's a choice to suffer from Cancer, diabetes etc. We have the opportunity now, to lead by example and show youth of today, that it's ok to not feel well, mentally, it's ok to talk about it and that there ARE other options than suicide, no matter how difficult it seems or feels, it CAN and WILL GET BETTER. 

Today is the day to start leading by example:
- BE RESPECTFUL - Don't judge someone before you've put yourself in their shoes,
- BE CONSCIENTIOUS  - Watch your words, phrases such as "I'm feeling really OCD or Schizo today," could be seen as insensitive to those whom, suffer from this illness on a daily basis.
- BE KIND TO OTHERS & YOURSELF - If able, be an ear for someone going through a difficult time. Give yourself time, if you feel anxious or upset, take a break- many people take smoke breaks, allow yourself a mental break- YOU DESERVE IT.
- NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP - There are many organizations whose sole purpose is to be their for YOU, no matter how much it may seem like it, YOU'RE NOT ALONE.

Here are some Young Adult/Teen titles that deal with Mental Illness (I haven't read all of these books, but many of them are popular, some of them have only recently been released, but when you're going through a tough time, it's always helpful to read narratives in which the characters are experiencing similar struggles)

YA Titles that deal with Mental Health/Illness
Titles are linked to Goodreads pages

Here are a few support numbers and website. These lines are for residents of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. (again, if you have more to contribute, please leave your suggestions in the comments :))

If you're in a crisis call 911 and they can give you your local crisis centre number

CAMH 1-866-531-2600
or visit their website here, where you can chat via social media as well

The following helplines were taken from this website.

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Available 24/7, 365 days/year

Distress Centre: 416-408-HELP (4357)

Youthdale’s Crisis Support Team: (416) 363-9990 

Anishnawbe 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Management Service: 416-891-8606  (Aboriginal clients)  

Gerstein Centre: (416) 929-5200

Happy Reading and Happy Mental Health to you all!!!

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