Tuesday, 28 January 2014

More Than Just a Donation

Today is Bell Let's Talk day - an initiative put forth by Bell Canada to encourage discussion and openness about Mental Health, with the side benefit of a financial donation to various Mental Health initiatives in our country.

Some people will argue that it is a 'feel good' advertising campaign - a ploy to increase overall revenue while getting the company name/image out there for a relatively small cost. That Bell could simply make a donation without all the sharing and retweeting. And they are probably right.

Image from umc-gbcs.org

When I look at my Twitter feed today, it is EXPLODING with comments, confessions, encouragement, support, love, and honesty. One does not have to look far to realize that Mental Health issues impact us all at some point in our lives - either directly or indirectly. And judging from how often this kind of stuff shows up on my timeline on days other than Bell Let's Talk day, we still are perhaps not quite comfortable enough to actually share about it on an ongoing basis. Sure, these conversations may take place 'in real life', but the atmosphere of support to share publicly is nowhere near what it should or needs to be.

And I started to wonder … what would happen if every day was Bell Let's Talk day - not just today? 

What if we were comfortable enough to share our vulnerability, our struggles, our progress -  without having to add the hashtag #BellLetsTalk?

Would someone out there feel less alone? Inspired? Encouraged to seek help? Would it save even one life? Would people lend us support, lift us up, walk beside us on our journey?

When others share their struggles, we learn we are not alone. When people we believe have 'got it all together' expose their vulnerability - their pain - we realize that it isn't just us. When we see people get through struggles and heartaches and come out whole and strong on the other side, we become inspired and hopeful. When someone opens their heart and asks for help, we are able to comfort, share, support, and guide.

Today is more than just Bell Let's Talk day. It is an opportunity to be open, to be vulnerable, and to share a piece of ourselves with others. It is an opportunity to create change, to advocate for supports, to stand together and say "let's get this done". But most of all, it is a reminder that we are all impacted - even if only peripherally.

Today is Let's Talk day. What will YOU choose to do about it tomorrow?

If you, or someone you know is struggling with a Mental Health issue, you are not alone and there IS help available. Reach out to:

  • Family or close friends
  • Mental Health Centre or Crisis Line (in Alberta 1-877-303-2642)
  • Your local Suicide Information/Education Centre (in Red Deer (403) 342-4966 or suicidehelp.ca)
  • A member of the Clergy
  • Family Physician or Walk In Clinic
  • Emergency Department
  • School counsellor 

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