There is mental illness in my family, as there likely is in yours. We’ve even lost loved ones to suicide. It was hard to accept that the first suicide couldn’t be prevented by my actions. I wanted so much to travel backwards in time and try to do something to change the outcome. I battled the “What ifs” for a long time. I felt alone.
I hadn’t heard anything about these types of issues from my friends. Any time I heard about it in the past, people would hush the conversation, and I was left inside my head imagining the difficulties families face.
Were mental illnesses and suicides really that unique? If someone in your family did it, were you likely going to do it too? Was there real help for people?
So I started talking about it. First, I told to my circle of friends. Then I told classmates. I even told my professors. And by the time I was in university, people were more willing to talk openly about it.
Not unique after all
Guess what! My family was not unique after all. Mental illness impacts every family. I heard story after story from friends. Even strangers approached me with their stories. So many of us have to deal with these same issues. The world is not such a lonely place.
I honestly believe that Oprah Winfrey had a lot to do with removing the stigma on so many issues, including mental illness. The only real shame is on us for not being willing to speak openly. -Oprah
Her show started the conversation and now more people are more willing to talk. More importantly, people are more willing to seek help.
Bell Let’s Talk day states that 100 tweets using #BellLetsTalk are equal to a $5 donation. It’s a great advertising campaign for Bell and helps to raise awareness for mental health.
I’d like to suggest that you go a step further. Consider donating directly to a local mental health organization, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick. If we all donate a little, it will have a large impact.
Many continue to battle mental illness. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Please reach out when you need the support. Talk to your family doctor. Talk to your friends. Talk to me. You matter. What you do matters.
You can also call a mental health hotline in your area any time.
New Brunswick Helpline (Chimo Helpline)
This provincial helpline serves NB 24 hours a day in French and English:
Provincial toll-free Crisis line: 1-800-667-5005
Fredericton area: 506-450-HELP (4357)