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MANN: Starting the conversation about mental health

Image Credit: SUBMITTED
January 31, 2019 - 3:00 PM

OPINION


Yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk — an initiative to encourage conversations about mental health — at least that’s what I gather from their website.

It seems to be working.

I watch the posts populate in my newsfeed each year — more and more individuals sharing their own stories of mental health challenges and how to donate to the cause.

But I’m always skeptical with any initiative that blows up on my social media.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a good example.

I remember thinking ‘This is stupid. Do any of these people videotaping themselves dumping ice on their heads even know or care what ALS is?’

Have they researched how many people are diagnosed with ALS each year and what the timeline is once you receive a diagnosis?

Have they ever met someone with ALS, or lost a family member to the disease that (in my opinion), quickly takes away the ability to eat move and breathe?
 
Did they ever collect donations or even look into how to donate?

But despite my sometimes cynical disposition, it appears the challenge actually did some good.

Somehow, with all the cringe-worthy videos of people getting hit with icy cold water (and there were a lot of people), millions of dollars were raised for the ALS Association.

Bell Let’s Talk is another initiative I wasn’t so sure about — but mental health awareness is so important — especially in this day and age.

I challenge anyone to look at their lives, their friends, and their family members, and I guarantee someone in their circle is facing a mental health challenge.

For anyone who has faced the bleakness of depression, the uncertainly of obsessive compulsive disorder or the anticipation of anxiety, they are well aware of how quickly your life can be turned completely upside down.

Our brains are such amazing organs that help us to function and survive, but they can have a darker side that can force us to be prisoners in our own bodies.

Those with mental health challenges can not only have bad days, but bad weeks, months and years.

Sometimes their entire existence is a challenge.

My children are still young. But I truly believe the battle for optimal mental health starts young.

If we can agree that encouragement for good physical health needs to start early (because physical health is important), I think we can agree educating our children on the topic of mental health early is equally as important.

Kids are smart. We don’t give them nearly enough credit.

They are intelligent creatures right form the get go. They are processing information at the speed of light (not literally) and their brains are developing even faster.

And because they are having information ‘thrown’ at them day in and day out, they are susceptible to breakdowns — to mental health challenges.

I think as parents we don’t always like to get involved too closely in our kid’s lives. We want to hang back a little and let our children have some independence and learn how to cope in case we aren’t always around.

But a conversation about mental health is never overstepping (Well, I am sure someone could show me an example of how it is overstepping).

I like the idea of opening up the conversation about mental health, and just letting people know, when they are ready, someone is there to listen.

— Becky is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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