Today is “Let’s Talk” day. Bell Canada is giving 5 cents to mental health initiatives nationwide for–among other things–every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. Check out their campaign’s web site for further details.
Their tweets have appeared more than once in my timeline, and I’ve retweeted messages as I see fit. I’ve even tweeted a couple of my own.
Yet I’ll admit something. Even though I support the cause, I cringe over the phrase “mental illness”. (It’s a bias of mine, but it’s there.) I believe I resist mainly because of the misconceptions attached to the phrase. Furthermore, in my head there’s still a difference between a person needing help with their mental health, and them having a (serious) mental illness. Both issues obviously relate to each other. Yet I’m concerned that generally speaking, the idea of preserving a person’s mental health is overlooked.
Instead, I tend to talk about “mental health” and place it on the same plane as our physical well-being–underestimated, yet essential.
The fact is, though, that some people reject the idea of seeking therapy for the very same thing that I’m guilty of–the assumptions surrounding the word. They may believe that time in a counselor’s office belongs to folks with big-name illnesses such as schizophrenia. They might think that taking care of one’s mental health is tantamount to admitting that they’re “crazy”. However, those who subscribe to these beliefs often fail to consider people who struggle in quiet ways. Some of us may have anxiety-based issues, or may still bear scars from a tragedy that we experienced ages ago.
The expectation of invincibility needs to end. We are all vulnerable in different ways. Some more than others.
And there is nothing wrong with admitting that you might need a little help.