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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

And while you may not experience mental illness first-hand, it is likely that you know someone who has or will have a mental illness.

Today is #BellLetsTalk day across Canada ...

For many years I have been impacted by depressions, anxiety and stress – at times the pain has felt unbearable, other times I hardly know it is there.  One way or the other ... it will likely always be there.

You, a family member, a friend, a co-worker – someone you know closely – is impacted, and you may be the only one who can make a difference

And while you may not experience mental illness first-hand, it is likely that you know someone who has or will have a mental illness.

Depression, anxiety, & stress can all be debilitating, & at times deadly for those impacted. These three things are not weakness, they are health issues needing treatment.  They impact real people who don’t need pity --- instead what you can offer is care, compassion, and a place the sufferer feels safe.

Today it happens to be voting day at the by-election in Nanaimo – I used that as an opportunity to promote the event, and encourage talk:

Hey #Nanaimo, today #NanaimoVotes. While you're waiting in line, take a moment to have a real conversation with those around you. You may be the only touch of human kindness they receive today. #BellLetsTaIk

Do you have an event going on in your community today?  Find a way to take #BellLetsTalk into it!

Here in Kamloops we have the Blazers Hockey Team.  I hadn’t seen anything from the yet (you know how teenage boys are however, they’re probably just waking up.  Regardless, I sent them a tweet asking they share how they, or others, have been impacted by having someone come along side them. 

Hockey players, actors, students, musicians, moms, dads, elected officials. These and others can all be impacted, NONE are immune.

According to the Mental Health Commission, on any given week, more than half a million Canadians are unable to go to work due to mental health problems.  Sometimes it’s hard to talk about mental illness. Knowing what to say or how to say it isn’t obvious. 

There are important reasons to start talking about mental illness.

It’s mot always there easy for us to see, and yet mental illness is one of the most widespread health issues in the country, with consequences for everyone.

ONE IN FIVE Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life ... most however will be cautious about talking to a co-worker, friend or family member about the issue, let alone seek treatment.

While you may not experience mental illness first-hand, it is likely that you know
someone who has or will have a mental illness. For anyone facing mental illness, stigma is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. In fact, it is the leading reason why two-thirds of people living with a mental illness do not seek help

DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?  To help in being part of a conversation with someone you know, CLICK HERE download the Conversation Guide

And remember, for every conversation (text, call, tweet, social media video view on Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat) that you tag with #BellLetsTalk, the impact is felt in big ways ... right across our country.

Bell says, “Thank you to all those who continue to speak up about mental illness. Let’s keep the conversation going and work together to create a stigma-free Canada.”

It’s hard to argue with that.  NOW GET GOING ... and tag all of your social media conversations that with #BellLetsTalk!


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