Well it is the annual #BellLetsTalk Day for 2017 and I hope this day has been generating some thought and awareness around mental health in our society.
As a mental health clinician, I wanted to share some suggestions on how to end the stigma around mental health.
- Be aware of language – notice how I said mental health instead of mental illness. I believe the use of the word illness is oppressive. I like to use the terms mental health or mental wellness as I believe they are more empowering and a positive reframe. Someone using the language mental illness may come to believe something is “wrong” with them and they are not “normal.” When in fact there is nothing wrong with them and it is completely normal to experience issues with mental health. So be aware of the language you use! Ask yourself is it positive or negative? If it is negative, how can I say this is a different way?
- Educate yourself – it’s okay to not know too much about mental health! In fact, I’d say because society is often too afraid to talk about it you are probably not the only one feeling this way! question is ever. So learn more and understand the signs of mental health because chances are you will encounter someone in your lifetime who is struggling with mental health.
- Be kind – small acts or words of kindness go a long way!
- Listen and Ask – ask someone how are you? And actually ask them! Don’t just say it to say it. Then listen! Ask them if there is anything you can do for them.
- Talk about it! – start a dialogue about mental health, break the silence!!!
And remember to take care of yourself!
Bell Let’s Talk (2017). http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/news/148/bell-lets-talk-day-2017-is-january-25