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With January being famous for its most depressing Monday of the year and with Bell's Lets talk campaign to draw awareness around mental health issues, I'm here to provide the Entrepreneurs perspective...
On January 23rd, I learned that a good friend had taken his own life the day before. The news of his suicide quickly overwhelmed our group of friends with feelings of deep sadness and confusion. We engaged in the heartbreaking exercise of wondering what we had missed and whether we had failed our friend.
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"I took that note from my doctor to my supervisor because I was admitting I needed help."
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Over the years, I have noticed many instances where professionals felt that they were supposed to be above all of life's challenges and obstacles. Not just health care workers ignoring their own health; but leaders who feel stressed by circumstances beyond their control and who live in fear of being discovered so that they feel anxious and afraid.
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We continue to be bombarded with graphically depicted messages that either romanticize suicide in terms of simplistic Romeo and Juliet dreck, or unfairly portray those in the midst of a mental illness crisis as "mad." We start believing falsehoods that keep perpetuating negative stereotypes and stigma.
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Postpartum mood disorders are so much more than just depression. Anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, the blues, manic states and, more rarely, psychosis all make up the spectrum. My own experience parallels the experience of so many, and yet has its own unique complications.
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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
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I felt like I was daring myself to cross some arbitrary line in the sand, and once I did, there would be no turning back. Canadians' perceptions of who I was, and certainly their knowledge of my life story, would be forever altered. Even if only a few dozen people heard my story, it felt big to share personally and publicly.
Mental health needs more than just a day. It's not something that we should think about for a day January and forget for the rest of the year. Bell Let's Talk does an unprecedented job of getting the conversation started, but it's up to all of us to keep it going.
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Anxiety disorders show themselves differently in everyone who have them. My fear of public transit is almost totally irrational, I know -- that's actually the most frustrating thing about it. I know it's irrational, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with the anxiety.
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"Just because it can't be seen, it doesn't mean damage can't be done."
In mental illness, we are constantly mixing apples and oranges. The causes are not the same and neither are the treatments. When we lump them together we create more confusion. And when there is lack of clarity, we tend to fill the gaps in knowledge with myths, superstitions, and mistaken attributions. That's when the quacks come out.
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This is a time when sharing that you haven't been able to get out of bed for the past three days because of crippling depression is not only acceptable, it's appreciated by all who know the same searing pain of the illness. These days leading up to Bell Let's Talk day on January 27th comprise a massive support system unlike any other seen throughout the year.
It takes a lot of courage to own up to your difficulties, to open up to a complete stranger, and most importantly, to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the inner work needed to heal. It's not a walk in the park, by any stretch of the imagination.
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.
Justin Trudeau has seen mental illness in his family first-hand, though he didn't really know it when he was younger. Growing up, he sometimes noticed his mother Margaret crying, though he thought it...
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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?"
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The best way to break away from stigma around depression and suicide is to talk about it. This post was originally published by Charlotte Ottaway in The Reply. One in five Canadians will experience a...
Bell Let's Talk day is about hope. It gives you a chance to take off your mask and talk about your pain. It allows you to mourn the loss of who you were and to say, "It's okay I'm like this now." It cracks open the darkness for a minute and gives you hope by letting you realize there are people who've made it out to the other side.
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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.
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.
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.
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An embarrassing interview experience led to a meaningful moment for Howie Mandel. In a video for the annual Bell Let’s Talk campaign, the “Deal Or No Deal” host shared his experience with obsessive-co...
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It's the most wonderful time of the year for Canadian mental health advocates! Wednesday, January 28 is Bell Let's Talk Day. On Bell Let's Talk Day, conversations will be taking place online, in homes, schools, and offices across the country. All wonderful, but, will you be participating in these discussions by sharing your personal experiences? Many people won't.
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Nobody wants to be Ebenezer. But during the holidays, when all are merry, and my eyes are watering with the unexplained tears of depression -- which has not left me, but has only fooled those around me -- the oft-repeated, "What's wrong now? You seemed fine yesterday," only serves to make the demons in my head cackle a little louder.
I was more than a little disappointed when I saw so many members of the mainstream media writing flippant and dismissive tweets using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag on Tuesday. Couching this smug dismissal around perceived corporate hypocrisy completely misses the point.
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.
Talking about mental illness is difficult. I get it. But what is even more difficult is people saying they accept me for who I am and then deserting me. As soon they hear something good has happened to me they're the first people to want to celebrate with me, yet they don't want to hear about the dark side of mental illness.
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.
BURNABY, B.C. - Andy O'Brien got help.Now he hopes other athletes will too."If you feel that you're struggling, don't be afraid to ask for help," the Vancouver Whitecaps defender said. "There are peop...