Why the #BellLetsTalk campaign is so important.
January 25, 2017
Today our friends at Bell Canada are challenging the public to open their hearts and minds to the issue of mental illness. Dubbed Bell Let’s Talk Day, it’s a powerful reminder that mental health doesn’t just affect individuals—it affects families, communities, and our entire society. Moreover, the campaign highlights the fact that we need to come together and talk about what mental health truly means, what we can do to address our own mental health challenges, and how we can help others who are coping with mental health conditions.
While awareness and empathy are steadily growing, there’s still a strong stigma surrounding the issue. Many people feel it’s taboo and are reluctant to discuss it even with their loved ones. This lack of dialogue causes harmful myths to perpetuate, which in turn makes people feel ashamed. It’s only by talking openly with each other about mental health and issues like stress and depression that we can dispel those myths, eradicate the shame, and provide the appropriate help and support to those in need.
It’s more common than you think
Another problem is that many people believe, for whatever reason, they’re immune to mental illness. This simply isn’t true. Mental illness is not a weakness and can strike anyone, anytime. If you’re not convinced just read the following statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
- “Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
- Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., the third leading cause of death for people aged 10–24 and the second leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
- Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
- Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
- Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.”
And these statistics don’t just represent a crisis in America—it’s a global issue. Many countries, from Canada to Zimbabwe, are working hard to improve the way they handle mental health issues socially and institutionally. People are finally starting to realize that mental health is directly tied to physical health and total well-being, and should be considered a universal priority.
What you can do to help
If you’re looking for more resources on mental health, we have a number of informative blog posts to get you started. You can also find out how to participate in the Bell Let’s Talk campaign by clicking here.