Bell Let's Talk

Linda Monteith Gardiner

On Being Crazy: An Excerpt

In my family, the incidence of mental health problems runs high. My mother and her twin sister are both bipolar. On my father's side, one of my aunts was bipolar and two of my cousins are schizophrenic. While some people dispute the idea that mental illness can be hereditary -- and I, too, believe in the importance of social and environmental causes -- you can nonetheless see that the odds were pretty high that someone else in my immediate family might get hit over the head with it, too
shutterstock

Social Change Requires More Than Just a Retweet

Bell Let's Talk Day inspired active online engagement, attracted celebrity endorsements and the attention of media, all the while raising vital charitable dollars. But a one-day social media event is not enough to significantly move the needle away from ignorance, fear and silence. After all, what happens the next day, and the day after that? Social change requires more than a social media plan. It requires a long-term sustainable strategy. Because in our content-rich, highly distracted world, passion is sometimes overrun by profit, causes are sidestepped by things like limited overhead and the desire to stay current fuels an unyielding need to move onto the next big thing.

Lose the 'Suck It Up' Mentality When Talking About Mental Illness

That's the thing about depression. When you're in the thick of it, you don't realize how far wrong things have gone; which is why it's important for all of us to look out for each other, and to watch for those subtle cues and clues that something is amiss with the people we love. It's hard to ask someone "Are you in trouble?" or "Do you need help?" and even "Are you OK?"
Getty Images

#BellLet'sTalk Day: Workplaces Need to Get Serious About Mental Health

You may have noticed that your social media feeds have been inundated with the #BellLetsTalk hashtag. That's because Bell Let's Talk day is on Wednesday, January 28. We need workplaces that value their employees' mental health. Employers need to lead by example by recognizing workplace signs of undiagnosed depression, such as difficulty making decisions, decreased productivity, inability to concentrate and any unusual increases in errors in work, just to name a few.
AFP via Getty Images

Why Bell Let's Talk Day Is a Cynical Publicity Stunt

We need progressive organizations to build off the publicity of Let's Talk and call for a new day: Let's Act. When it feels like the snow will never melt and spring will never come, let's commit ourselves to act. Let's Act and demand more funding to mental health supports, including the improved public funding of mental health doctors, treatments and facilities. Let's Act and reject Stephen Harper's attempt to criminalize people with mental health struggles: help and rehabilitation rather than solitary confinement and life-long prison sentences.
Press Association

I Devalue Mental Illness When I Call Myself Crazy

In order to further be part of a movement which strives to promote the existence of mental illnesses, I have to be able to speak my truth. Not just write it. Not hide behind my laptop. But say it out loud, and not say it with a smirk and a wink, and a jolly, "I'm crazy." This isn't helping anyone. I'm only further promoting the notion that mental illness needs to remain in the closet. Until people can accept that there is stigma, those of us who do suffer in silence; those of us who are too embarrassed to say out loud that we have an illness -- we need to refrain from using a vocabulary which only serves to further set back the progress.
shutterstock

Don't Confuse Mental Health With Addictions

Consider this. No one makes a decision to suddenly develop psychotic delusions or the mania of bipolar disorder or the crushing darkness of depression. These are illnesses that just happen as do other illnesses like MS or Parkinson's or rheumatoid arthritis. They are not our choice and they are not welcome but they happen and we have to contend with them as best we can.
Alamy

Mental Illness Is Not a First World Problem

Those without mental health issues equate their feelings of sadness to those of someone with depression, when in reality this is like comparing a small paper cut to a broken arm. This characterization is entirely misguided however, as mental health issues are not a "First World Problem" but instead a problem which has the potential to affect all humans regardless of class, race, gender, or ethnicity.