#BellLetsTalk: Ending The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses
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Health and Wellness

#BellLetsTalk: Ending The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses

How Canada's leading telecommunication company is helping raise awareness for mental illnesses

#BellLetsTalk: Ending The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses

Last week, the annual #BellLetsTalk day occurred on social media. Bell Canada has started this trend with the promise that for every tweet with that hashtag, they will donate five cents to mental health initiatives. For the most part, I do not really pay much attention to what is on the "trending" list, on Twitter or on Facebook. But this one hashtag really got to me and 140 characters are not enough to express how I feel.

Too often, as a society, we shy away from the topic of mental illnesses. We talk about everything else under the sun, but the minute that words such as “depression" and "anxiety" are brought up in conversation, people try to push it away and change the topic. Here is the truth: mental illnesses exist. From eating disorders to schizophrenia, and everything in between, every single mental illness has the potential to be fatal.

People tend to believe that mental illness can be controlled. That they are a problem with one's personality, not with the way their brain is wired. However, this is not true. A mental illness is just as dangerous as a physical illness. Yes, comparing social anxiety to a torn ACL might sound odd, but both of them are painful. Just because the symptoms are different does not mean a mental illness is any less excruciating.

No matter how hard one tries to pretend that they do not, they do exist, and they are just as harmful as any physical illness.

There is still a stigma attached to mental illnesses. People with a mental illness are excluded, disliked, and often called things like "crazy" and "psycho." This is exactly the problem. Many of us tend to be ignorant.

We tend to say things first and think later. From using phrases like "go kill yourself" too lightly, to telling someone that "depression is not real, get over it," people often do not understand how the words they throw around might affect another person's life.

The reality is this: in our society, mental health is not considered to be as dangerous as any other type of illness or disease.

That needs to change. 1 in 4 people in America suffer from a mental disorder in any given year. Almost 90% of suicides are caused by mental illnesses. Close to 60% of people with a mental disorder in the nation go undiagnosed. Around the globe, about 400 million people suffer from depression every year. These statistics are much too high, and we as humans need to think about the ways we can change this.

I have never had a mental illness. I have never experienced firsthand what it feels like. But, I have heard about and seen too many people who have been affected by it; too many people who have not gotten the help they need.

No human should ever suffer so much that they can barely get out of bed. No human deserves to feel worthless or like they have no reason to live. Most of all, though, no human should feel that they are "crazy" for having a disorder.

Whoever is reading this right now might be wondering why I even bothered posting this, why one little hashtag has inspired me so much. Reading so many of these tweets about #BellLetsTalk has gotten me thinking about the things I say and do. My resolution now is to be more considerate of other people's feelings. I probably unintentionally say a lot of harsh things to other people, but my goal now is to think before I talk. I believe that every person around me has faced some sort of difficulty at one point or another, so I need to keep that in mind and be kind to those around me as much as possible.

Having a mental illness does not make a person weird or insane. It just makes them human. We all have imperfections, every single one of us. There is not one person in the world who is perfect; and that is completely alright. What is important, however, is helping out each other. We might not be able to change the world overnight, but I sincerely hope that we, as a society, start paying more attention to mental health.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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