CAMH will participate in the third annual Bell Let’s Talk Day by generating as much talk about mental health as we can. I believe in the power of words.
My great grandpa used to say “talk’s cheap.” That was the 19th century way of saying: “don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk!” More recently, I learned the request “use your words” from the teachers at my son’s daycare. They meant “tell me what you’re thinking; tell me what happened; tell me how you feel about it.”
Years later, I still use these two frameworks. At CAMH, we believe that talking about mental illness is a powerful social driver – but it needs to be paired with education and active challenges to the status quo – doing things. Our patients and mental health professionals also know that using your words: talk therapy and the self-talk of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are robust, evidence based treatments for mental illness.
The silence that has shrouded mental illness has been a major barrier to change. Today, only 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness. That’s because mental illness still seems fearful and shameful – preventing people from seeking help. Many continue to suffer in silence, excluded from the hope and optimism that comes from good care, treatment and supports.
While speaking up can change an individual’s life, speaking out can change the world. High profile people like Honourable Michael Wilson, Romeo Dallaire and Margaret Trudeau, as well as heroes like CAMH Transforming Lives Award recipients Ravi Sarin and Juliana Catalano have courageously shared their stories to raise public awareness and change attitudes.
There’s so much we need to discuss – trauma, youth suicide, better treatments, access to care and services like housing, income support and education – just some of the topics of conversation that CAMH is working on with our mental health care sector partners. The next conversations must really be catalytic, surfacing innovative ideas to accelerate progress on these issues, and more.
Last Year, Bell Canada’s contribution of 5 cents for every text, tweet or share on Bell Let’s Talk Day netted more than $4.8 million for Canadian mental health programs. That was 96 million messages in one day. This year could be even better.
On January 28th, talk up a storm. Speak up and speak out for mental health.