#BellLetsTalk about mental illness

Photo by Logan Caswell

Durham Lords' mascot making some noise for mental health

Bell’s Let’s Talk Day was January 25, 2017. This is an important day for people who live with mental illness to talk about their issues with those they love and those who support them. This day is about talking with people regarding mental health. For those who have Bell phone plans, Bell contributes 5 cents for every text, tweet with the hashtag #BellLetstalk, and phone call made by consumers. This money is distributed to organizations to help mental health initiatives.

Despite the efforts by Bell Let’s Talk, there is still a stigma surrounding mental illness that keeps people from telling their friends and family about their negative thoughts and feelings. Yet support can be extremely important on the path to mental wellness. The most difficult part can be disclosing your illness to those people who can be your support system. There are many people who do not understand mental illness or have misconceptions.

When my doctor gave me the diagnosis of bipolar disorder I was relieved to know my thoughts and actions had a name and treatments. I was and still am nervous about telling people that I have this illness. I fear people will think I am dangerous or crazy and can’t be trusted.

I cringe when I hear about someone who commits a crime or hurts someone and the press release that the suspect suffered from a mental illness. This becomes the face of mental illness and makes it tougher for people suffering to seek help.

According to CNN, a man who suffered from mental health issues committed the recent attack at an airport in Florida but, according to multiple news reports, experts don’t know what triggered the event so it remains the story of a suspect with mental health issues.

The best thing I ever did was face my fears and tell my friends, family, and teachers that I have mental health issues. I received support, advice, and assurances that they did not see me as someone crazy. My friends even shared with me their own struggles and we keep an eye on each other to make sure we are all doing okay.

The Bell Let’s Talk campaign is important, however, it is something that should happen all year. Those suffering from mental illness should not be afraid to talk to others and those that know someone with a mental illness should check in with their loved ones. We don’t need a corporate campaign. We just need to talk.

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Laura is a second year journalism student at Durham College. She enjoys writing for campus, current affairs, and profile for The Chronicle. She loves to read and watch educational documentaries. Her work can be seen on Riot Radio. She hopes to work for CP24.

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