Mental Health: It’s about time
I remember when I was a child my parents would occasionally talk about someone who had a nervous breakdown and was in the hospital. Or, there was a kid at school who was away for a few weeks with a mystery illness. Not only was mental health a term that wasn’t discussed, it was totally misunderstood. But thanks to initiatives like Let’s Talk by telecommunications giant Bell Canada, much of that has changed. As a business owner, an employer, a family member and just as a member of society, I say it’s about time that we talk about mental health.
It’s important to talk about mental health and it’s important for those suffering with mental health issues to be able to talk about themselves. It’s only when the stigma surrounding mental health issues is lifted that people can feel comfortable asking the questions that will lead them to the care that will help.
You’ve got to give Bell Canada a ton of credit for what they’ve done. When they started their Let’s Talk initiative in 2010, mental health wasn’t exactly an everyday topic. People suffering with anxiety and depression were more likely to keep their conditions to themselves. But, as their website declares, “In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health.” They jumped in with two feet. In the past 9 years, Bell Let’s Talk has raised over 100 million dollars, supporting over 1,000 organizations that provide mental health care.
Bell’s efforts have paved the way for many athletes and celebrities to go public with their mental health issues. As a passionate Toronto Raptors fan, I was impressed with the courage of DeMar DeRozan, who in February 2018 revealed his lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, saying, “It’s not nothing I’m against or ashamed of.” More impressive was that DeMar recognized that he could help others by telling his story. As he said, people could look at him and think, “He goes through it and he’s still out there being successful …”I have no doubt that his statements were uplifting and comforting to thousands of people.
Even here at Algood, mental health is on our radar. In part that’s because of the coverage provided by the health benefits we offer our employers. But mostly it’s because we recognize that the people who work for us are our most valuable asset. They get more care and attention than any piece of equipment, no matter how expensive. We have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment and that’s what we strive to do every day.
This year, Bell Let’s Talk day is next Wednesday – January 29 and I urge everyone to get behind it. For every tweet using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag and for every Bell Let’s Talk interaction on other social media platforms, Bell will donate 5¢. Last year, there were over 145 million interactions that resulted in Bell donating over 7 million dollars. Find out more about what you can do on January 29 at the Bell Let’s Talk website.
The “hear no evil, see no evil” approach to mental health is falling by the wayside and that’s a good thing. People can, without fear, seek the help they need and be more productive members of society. Increased awareness allows others to be more sensitive, more respectful and more helpful. As I said, it’s about time.