On January 28, mental health
will be on everyone’s lips.
January 28 was Bell Let’s Talk Day. I spent most of the day online. Recently I joined Twitter and encouraged to follow other like-minded people doing good things in the field of mental health. The concept made sense, but whom would I follow? Where would I begin to find these people?
A few days before Bell’s annual mental health awareness campaign I looked into some of their initiatives that have been made possible by Bell Media’s leadership effort, led by spokeswoman, Olympian Clara Hughes. I knew that many existing mental health programs and organizations were beneficiaries of this massive fundraising effort and that large scale brick and mortar projects had been undertaken. Lives were being changed for the better. Up until this year, the results seemed great and wonderful, but I had trouble connecting on a personal level.
Once on the Bell website I was encouraged to share my experience and retweet the latest mental illness statistics, and so I did. Within minutes my Twitter feed and email were pinging with favourites and retweets. Someone out there had a story, many stories. I read about people of all ages living with anxiety and depression. I was beginning to recognize the value of using social media to educate and connect with others. I was officially on Twitter!
What I take from this online experience is that we can all contribute to changing the way we view mental illnesses, by reducing the stigma through education, understanding and offering compassion.