Contributor Nicole Lagace
With Bell Let’s Talk Day coming up on January 28th, it’s important to start the conversation surrounding mental health and well-being. This initiative, founded in 2010, strives to encourage an open discussion of mental health while raising money for support services. By doing this, we work towards destigmatizing mental health by creating an open space for people to talk freely about it. Through raising money, Bell is able to support mental health care and mental health research. They also encourage the provision of workplace mental health training. Over the ten years it has run, Bell Let’s Talk Day has grown tremendously and made a lot of progress towards providing access to mental health resources and ending the stigma.
We all have mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health. Since we all have mental health, we can all see it suffer from time to time. This can show up in a variety of ways, whether it’s feeling a little bit of burnout at the end of a semester, or struggling with depression or anxiety. No struggle is too big, and no struggle is too small. So when we experience mental illness, it is important to look at it not as a personal flaw, but as something that needs treating — the same way we see a physical illness. However, while physical illness is met with compassion, care, and a fully established health care system, mental illness is not met with the same force. This topic is often kept quieter, which is why we are striving to encourage the conversation surrounding it.
Our mental health impacts every aspect of our day-to-day lives, so it’s extremely important to take care of! It affects our outlook, quality of life, and even our physical health. It affects our motivation, sleep schedule, and even life expectancy! While it is easy to brush off the importance of our mental health because of the taboo nature of the subject, taking care of it can ensure that we are healthy in all aspects, both mental and physical.
This past year, people have been experiencing unique mental health struggles. Those with mental health issues tended to experience worsened symptoms, and many who did not have any mental health struggles prior to the pandemic started to experience them for the first time. This phenomenon was caused by things like increased fears surrounding health and illness, reduced social interaction, and the need to adapt to a new lifestyle. That’s why we find that it is more important than ever to create an open space to talk about these issues free of judgement, and to provide resources for people who do need help. One informational resources to learn more about mental health is the Bell Let’s Talk website, at https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/ways-to-help. If you want resources to improve your own mental health, visit https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/get-help or https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Overview for some helpful tips!
There are plenty of ways you can take care of your mental health. For starters, it helps to have a daily routine where you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. Taking breaks from doing work and making time for you to do things you enjoy is also important in keeping yourself happy and motivated. If you are experiencing worsening mental health and would like to treat it, there are plenty of free online therapy options to try out. One great website that offers free online therapy is https://www.mindbeacon.com/. Whether you need help, or would simply like to learn more about your own mental health, this is a great place to do so! With both texting and video calling offered, it can be catered to whatever you need.
If you want something more long-term, you could also talk to a therapist, which can be free of charge with your student health benefits. To do so through Western Health Services, head to https://www.uwo.ca/health/psych/index.html to book your first appointment. There are also many other services available to you outside of Western. You can do a quick search to find a therapist near you!
To support those around you, be open to talking with your friends about this topic. This way, we can create an open environment where everyone feels welcome to talk about their mental health, regardless of if they’re having issues or not. Let’s end the stigma and start the discussion on mental health.