Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks

Let’s Talk about mental health

Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts - Bromont, Qc. My wishing well, wishing for more openness about Mental Health.
Photo: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts – Bromont, Qc.
My wishing well, wishing for more openness about Mental Health.

It is that time of the year again. Remember last February the campaign to try and break barriers on mental health?  You know, there were ads on television, Facebook and Twitter as well promoting that day where the motto went like: Bell Let’s Talk and in French Cause pour la Cause.  Well, this year it is January 28th. On January 28, Bell Let’s Talk…

 

“Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every:

Text message sent

Long-distance call made*

Tweet using #BellLetsTalk

Facebook share of our Bell Let’s Talk image”

 

One in five Canadians will be confronted with a mental health condition and too often, very few, will actually seek help.  It is bad enough to suffer from the pain of a mental illness and not get help.  There are treatments and there IS recovery!  Why don’t people seek help?  Unfortunately, many fear they will be judged because of the stigma associated with mental illness.  Mental health is as important as physical health.  Bell Let’s Talk is an initiative to help break down the barriers of this negative stigma…label.

Did you know that Mental Illness is the most widespread health issue in the country?  Some people are embarrassed to admit they may be suffering from a mental illness and they wait and wait and suffer and wait some more.  Did you know that the shorter the wait, the treatment is shorter? The longer you wait, the longer the recovery?  The problem is that so many people do not want to publicly admit they may have suffered from a mental illness. If more people TALK about it, more will get help.

I personally suffered a burnout many years ago…that’s a nice word that covered the real issue…situational depression.  Did I tell many people about it then? Nope!  I was afraid to be judged and have people point their finger at me, “Oh, she’s has major issues!”  or felt ashamed as not being strong enough to cope. Had I known at the time, it’s okay, and that talking about it actually may encourage someone else to get help, I may have been less inclined to hide it.  I remember a co-worker at the time telling me she felt relieved to see that I was not super-woman and that I had ups and downs like everyone else.  You see, my trying to appear as super-woman, only discouraged her rather than have her admire me.  Go figure, eh?  I got closer to several people after that difficult time in my life. I also learned a lot about myself and learned how to cope during difficult times.  I also know the signs so if it came up again, I knew to get help.  Just think about your physical health for a moment.  If you are sneezing a lot, start feeling a bit sluggish, you know that those are the signs of a cold. You may rest a bit more and if the symptoms get worse or last a longer time, you will probably go see your doctor, right?  Why not do the same thing when you feel emotionally down for weeks at a time?

The way my illness peaked was my body was affected. I woke up one morning and my back just went out. I had so much pain, I could not go to work. I later discovered I was overtired and I had been burning the candle at both ends keeping busy trying to “avoid” facing my internal cries.  I saw my family doctor who put me on medication for a year and saw a therapist for about 4 months.  I came out a different person and the experience was humbling. More friends and colleagues felt comfortable talking to me about some of their personal struggles.  I appeared for once, “normal” because I had ups and downs like everyone else and I learned to manage them better. I did not have to feel like a failure or put a label that I was weak…I was a normal human being who had encountered some mental health issues that needed to be addressed.  Just as physical health needs to be monitored so does mental health.

You need to exercise to stay healthy.  Well, guess what? Physical exercise also boosts your mental health. It releases tiny chemicals in your brain {neurotransmitters} that make you feel happier…endorphins…I call it the exercise to produce the natural happy drug.  Try walking or jogging just for 15 minutes and notice your mood change slightly. Cool huh?  Yoga is a great form of exercise that has actually proven to improve physical and mental health.

Any kind of sport is great but not everyone has that ability or opportunity…so walk, jog, swim, cycle, dance, put in those ear buds and dance to music. I work late hours and walk home after 11pm. most nights. I have to cross a huge Mall’s parking lot to get to my home. So I often sway my hips and move my feet a bit to the music and use that parking lot as my giant dance floor.  It may seem silly but most people are asleep by the time I’m on my way home, so I just move to the groove {yep, I’m that old, so I can use those expressions}.

Walking, music, dancing, cooking, reading and writing are my therapies. What do you like to do? Oh, I forgot, I love to sketch and colour. Granted I am not a great artist but it feels good and it is actually using a part of my brain I don’t use much, so it is really calming.

Working on a help line for youths, I hear lots of teens and young adults call in saying they don’t want to tell their friends or family they are struggling emotionally because they don’t want to worry them. I’m really relieved they feel comfortable to reach out to our anonymous helpline. There are helplines for adults as well and so many places to get help.  In many provinces across the country if you dial 211, you may be able to reach an agency that can look up community resources for you.  In many provinces including Quebec you can dial 811 to get a tele-health line that sometimes also have resources to direct you to mental health supports.  At the front of your phone book there are emergency numbers and often a distress line is included.  In the next few weeks, I will be updating my page RESOURCES and if you have any resources you feel should go up there, please comment here or send me an email at cheryllynnroberts.ca@gmail.com.

Remember that date now, January 28th, 2014 Let’s Talk – Cause pour la Cause.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 7, 2014

Advertisements

Author:

A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin http://cheryllynnroberts.wordpress.com I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. http://stigmahursteveryone.wordpress.com Namaste!

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about mental health

  1. Mental illness is not only real, it is prevalent and more widespread than many would care to admit. I maintain that I would suffer some form of depression or another if it weren’t for regular exercise. Releases those endorphins and keeps me in balance, if there’s such a thing. Happy to have had the introduction by way of Juesseppi.

    Thank you.

    SomerEmpress

    Like

    1. Wow! That is great that you keep fit like that and it is so true. I tell youths who call me at work that exercise, even walking, dancing…after about 10 to 15 mins. you will notice a slight shift in your mood. It does release chemicals in your brain…I call it the natural happy drug but it only works if you MOVE:) Many psychiatrists are now prescribing regular exercise and yoga as a form of treatment.

      Like

  2. Very important blog. I was a psych nurse and clinical depression runs in the women in my family. My oldest daughter lives in a small southern town. Her psychiatrist lives in a different town. You are a pretty courageous woman. Hugs, Barbara

    Like

    1. Thanks so much, Barbara, for reading and taking the time to comment. The courageous people are those struggling and suffering and either not knowing where to go to get help or afraid to be judged. Hopefully more and more people will talk about their personal experiences to remove that stigma…Bell Let’s Talk does start opening the conversation. Now if folks would talk about it all year, that would be great.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s