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.
Every month I am sharing one of my 7 Take Aways on living life to the fullest,
learning to grieve and support others and having “The Talk” about end of life…
long before it arrives and diffusing the fear.
Today I am sharing Take Away #4; to be empowered, resilient and compassionate…
Show Up For Yourself First!
Last month I shared Just Show Up, when someone is grieving,
in crisis or facing one of life’s challenges. BUT, if we want to be able to show up for others,
we need to show up for ourselves first!
Be the very best version of yourself that you can be. This means being a great self-care giver.
If you are, you will be able to show up for others, you will be able to be that village
(Take Away #2) and if you are not a great self-care giver, you will end up needing to be cared for by others. But, if you’re not, you’re probably a lot crabbier than you think!
In our family, to remind us to be great self-care givers and for times we are grieving--
I don’t know about you, but when I am grieving, I am a hot mess (and I won’t
apologize for that!) and I can’t even think—we’ve created our Self-Care Toolboxes!
My beautiful box is filled with books, trinkets that remind me of wonderful times,
letters from patients and families and many things that make me feel better.
And really soft tissue for a good cry. I dive in when I’m having a bad day, grieving or
when I need a reminder that I have value and I need great self-care.
My children have also created their own Self-Care Toolboxes because it is so individual.
We grieve differently and different things make us feel better. And that’s ok!
And Geordie, my husband, his is a dirty old fishing box with keys to the garage,
duct tape and not much else. But hey, hat’s all he needs. No judgement.
So if you want to be that village, if you want to be able to Just Show Up for others,
Show Up For Yourself First!
You have value, you matter and you are a gift to others when you are a great self-care giver. And a great example too!
Jadyn and I did a little make up, as you can see.
It’s been -40 C with the wind chill here in #Muskoka, there have been snow days and we couldn’t go outside (well, we didn’t want to go outside!). We needed to find something to occupy us. Jadyn wanted to do my make-up for “date night”.
Jadyn: “So the theme was date night and it was going OK at first,
but then I tried liquid liner, and then all of this happened! (See photos…not good!)
Me, the mom: We just got carried away, but I have to tell you, we laughed our heads off.
We laughed really hard—Jadyn says, “Yeah, my gut hurt!”
Sometimes you have to get a little silly, with make-up, your kids or whoever is with you.
It’s free and fun! Hopefully this make up washes off, or you will never see my in public again!
“Jadyn, thank you so much. It’s been so much fun!"
So on a freezing cold day, or any day,
figure out how you can get silly,
have fun and laugh until your gut hurts!
I have just recorded my Hunter's Bay Radio interview with Allie Chisholm-Smith.
Allie is the founder of Ahimsa Yoga Studio and ENLIVEN (along with Joanne McLean).
Allie: ENLIVEN is an organization in Muskoka designed to help cancer patients,
their caregivers/families and healthcare providers, with issues along the cancer journey.
Yvonne: What I love the most is that you encourage people to tell their story,
as they are struggling—just being real with it—and of course, that is a big part of my message. We have to acknowledge and allow grief and be able to have these real conversations.
You support others with whatever they need; nutrition, yoga, everything… all encompassing.
Allie: Yes, support through chemo, support if you opt out of chemo… whatever you need!
Yvonne: For those with cancer, their families, caregivers, healthcare providers…everyone.
You and Joanne started this 2 and 1/2 years ago,
and it’s growing and changing organically. Cancer is something that affects everyone!
We can’t even say “most people.” We ALL know someone who has been diagnosed or
we have been diagnosed ourselves. This kind of support is extremely important.
I love what you are doing and will support you in any way I can.
Namaste, and thank you.
Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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