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An organization that shines light on a dark subject

The Healthy Bear

#BellLetsTalk is a movement that took Twitter by storm on January 27. What is this movement about, you may ask? On January 27, every tweet that was sent out with the hashtag and every time a particular Facebook image was shared, Bell would donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives. The charity is based in Canada because Canadian health care does not really cover or accept mental health. Bell was founded on four pillars that it strives to live by: anti-stigma, care and access, workplace health, and research.

Stigma is something that contributes to the suffering of people with mental illnesses. It is the main reason people do not search for help -- because they are scared of the judgment they may get. The awareness campaign opens up a conversation to the nation and allows people to tell their stories with the hope that others that are suffering will feel comfortable to get the help that they need so they won't feel so alone. Clara Hughes, a six-time Olympic medalist, took the lead in this campaign. She struggled with mental health issues and believes that the best way to get help is to get people talking.

Here are five ways to help end the stigma, as suggested by Bell. One, remember that language is key when you talk to people with mental illnesses. Words help but they can also hurt. Words like "crazy" or "psycho" are not helpful adjectives to describe someone who is struggling. Two, educate yourself about mental health. Learn early warning signs in order to be able to see them in yourself or others around you. Also, don't believe everything you hear about mental illnesses. Learn the facts and the myths about them, and don't spread myths that you are not sure about. Three, be kind; you never know who is going through something. Don't be a bystander and watch someone being bullied. Also, a friendly call or acknowledgment might mean the world to someone. Four, listen and ask questions. Most of the time, someone struggling just needs someone to sit there and listen to them and hear the struggles they are going through. Don't discredit them; simply ask questions if you do not understand something they are talking about. Finally, talk about mental health and mental illnesses. Do not start a debate but rather open dialogue. Talk about how mental illness affects everyone either directly or indirectly, and support your local mental health organizations.

Just to end on a brighter note, mental Illness is not always a bad thing. When people stigmatize it, it makes it seem worse than it is. The hashtag #BellLetsTalk is a great organization that is shining light on a dark topic. I hope you all will learn a little bit more from this article and will go forth in life viewing people a little differently.

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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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