Help end the stigma around mental illness.
It’s easier than you think!
It’s a fact: One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in
their lifetime. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma. It is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living
with a mental illness do not seek help.
According to the Mental Health Commission, on any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians are unable to go to work due to mental health problems.
5 ways you can help
The words you use can make all the difference. Words can help, but they can also hurt.
What would you choose? Words to watch out for:
Not Schizo. Person with schizophrenia.
Not Crazy. Person with a mental illness.
Stigma has been around for a long time, and knowing the facts and myths about
mental illness can be a great way to help end the stigma. Read about facts and myths,
and become a stigma buster.
Simple kindness can make a world of difference. Whether it be a smile, being a good
listener or an invitation for coffee and a chat, these simple acts of kindness can help
open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.
Expressions like “You’ll get over it” and “Just relax” can minimize how a person is feeling. Instead offer your support and say “I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.”
Ask what you can do to help.
Listen and ask
Mental illness is a very common form of human pain and suffering. Being a good
listener and asking how you can help, sometimes just even being there for people you
care about, can be the first step in recovery.
Here are a few examples of what to ask:
*I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
*I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down lately.
*Is everything OK?
*How can I help?
Talk about it
Break the silence. Mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend,
family member or colleague. Stories of people who have experienced mental health issues
and who are doing well can really challenge stereotypes. Most people with mental health
issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.
Mental Health Affects Us All
Thank you, Bell.
Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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