Today is one of my favourite days to celebrate – #bellletstalk day. A day when people do not feel ashamed to talk about mental illness, and a day when you can raise money for mental wellness simply by using social media or texting as you normally would.
In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer a mental health crisis, with approximately 8% of the adult population suffering from a depressive episode. 24% of deaths amongst young Canadians are by suicide.
What does this mean? It means that while we are all worrying about the 3 known cases of coronavirus presently affecting Canadians, and taking measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones against this, there is a 50% chance that the adult sitting next to you right now is living with a mental illness. That is correct – by the age 40, 50% of Canadians will be diagnosed with a mental illness. By bringing it out into the light, where it can be seen, the shame of mental illness withers and dies; by letting those suffer in the dark, THEY may wither and die.
A mental illness is not a personal failing. Just because something occurs “in your head” doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Think about it – ALL pain is in our heads – our nerve centres and pain receptors are in our brains, which is also where depression, bipolar, anxiety, and myriad other diseases live. So be gentle. Be gentle with your friends and family and coworkers; most of all – be gentle with yourself. You really are doing the best you can.
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