In my last post I talked about words we use everyday and the context in which we use them that could come across as offensive to those with mental illness. However, as an advocate I could do more to make the public aware of the positive things they can say or do to support those mental health difficulties.
Arthur Gallant is a young adult dedicated to eliminating stigma surrounding mental health as well as raising awareness and educating the general public and mental health professionals. The child of a parent with an intellectual disability, Arthur has also dealt with mental-health difficulties such as severe anxiety and clinical depression. A former Crown Ward, Arthur uses his story to empower people and challenge the stereotypes surrounding mental health, but to also encourage people to step forward and seek help for their own mental-health difficulties. In 2013, Arthur was 1 of 5 Canadians named as a Face of Mental Illness by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health which is an initiative of Bell Let's Talk. Arthur has been featured several times on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin and in The Toronto Star, CBC's The National , CTV News Channel, The Globe and Mail, CHCH's Square Off, and an educational video for the Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario Chapter)
Maybe it's just me but I feel that, as a society our vocabulary is a little less filtered then what it was 10 or 15 years ago. Are we so crunched for time that we no longer think about what we say and how it could affect others before we say it? I began to wonder...what words or phrases do we say or use everyday that offend those who have mental health difficulties?
08/16/2012 05:42 EDT
I have been a client using the services of adolescent mental health clinics and adult mental health clinics. In Ontario, it's being suggested that there is a disconnect between youth who are transitioning from an adolescent clinic to an adult clinic because for somebody emotionally fragile, this prospect can be extremely frightening.
08/07/2012 12:26 EDT
In a recent report the Board of Canada says over 452,000 Canadians would be actively involved in the workforce had they not been affected by mental illness. What can employers do to ensure they can get as much productivity out of their staff as possible even when they're experiencing personal challenges?
08/01/2012 07:33 EDT
For the past few years my personal and professional contacts that work with teens and young adults have wondered aloud if bullying can lead to mental illness. Researchers are starting to question the same thing and various studies are suggesting childhood bullying can lead to psychosis and paranoia.
07/26/2012 11:41 EDT
My suicide attempts were five years apart and each time I felt emotional pain that was too deep to describe. To me, ending my life was the only way to solve my problems which I've learned is not the case. There's a classic saying that goes, "Live everyday as if it's your last." While mental illness and suicide are very challenging topics, we need to treat those around us as if today is their last day too -- with love and respect.
07/09/2012 12:21 EDT
I don't like thinking of my mental illness as baggage, but everybody has skeletons in their closet and there are certain things that have happened to us in our lives we may not disclose immediately. But nonetheless, living with mental illness proves to be difficult when you're like me and on the online, gay dating circuit.
06/26/2012 05:02 EDT
The more I pushed my friends away the worse I began to feel. Ultimately I was a consenting adult and they respected my wishes and backed off. Some of them, though, have backed off forever because my verbal abuse in a time of need was too much for them to handle. It is the biggest regret of my life.
06/21/2012 01:37 EDT
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto launched an awareness campaign today in the hopes of bringing attention to the stigma those with mental illness face to help defeat it. The ads quote some of the most common things those of us with mental illness hear. These are the ones I encounter most frequently.
06/13/2012 05:10 EDT
Recent statistics show that at least one in five of us will have some sort of mental illness over the course of our lifetime. My hope is that there can come a point when it won't matter that you live with mental illness. But until then the best way to reduce stigma is to talk and educate yourself. The more often we have a discussion, the more we learn.
05/30/2012 12:19 EDT
For the past 16 hours I have been having an anxiety attack, my first in many months. I have been pacing around my apartment. I have been vocal with what its like to live with mental illness but a thought occurred to me earlier: Why not write a blog while I experience this anxiety attack inside of waiting until it's over and recollecting what it felt like?
05/14/2012 10:54 EDT
<img alt="2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" width="90" height="81" style="float: left; margin:10px" > Would you ever hesitate to tell your boss the reason that you have a runny nose is because you have the flu? The obvious answer to that question is, no. Then why do we hesitate to talk to our employer about mental illness? My dream is that anybody living with mental illness can have the same dialogue with their employers that I currently enjoy.
05/11/2012 06:08 EDT
<img alt="2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" width="90" height="81" style="float: left; margin:10px" >While mental illness definitely can have physical symptoms, it's not visible like a broken bone or a deep cut, but I would argue the emotional pain is comparable. I live with anxiety and depression, two different mental illnesses, yet they both work hand in hand.
05/10/2012 08:00 EDT
<img alt="2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-07-mentalhealth.jpg" width="90" height="81" style="float: left; margin:10px" >I was born to a mother who is intellectually disabled and has the mental capacity of a pre-teen. In the end, my mother chose to give up her parental rights and physical custody of me to the Children's Aid Society (CAS) when I was nine years old.
05/09/2012 02:05 EDT
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