This is not an ad for Bell Canada, but I think it’s worth noting. While according to Wikipedia, Mental Health Day is actually on October 10th, Bell Canada is celebrating with a campaign on February 8th. To be honest, I couldn’t care less what day it is or if there are two Mental Health awareness days a year. The reality is that most people hide their emotional and mental health issues. I think it is truly killing us. I think we even hide simple emotional problems because we’re afraid of the mental health stigma. So, I’m shining a light today on the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. Here are some facts Bell wants to share with you:
· 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives. (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
· 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection. (Mental Health Commission of Canada)
· A 2008 poll found that only 50% of Canadians will tell a friend that a family member has a mental illness while 72% would disclose a cancer diagnosis. (Canadian Medical Association)
· Mental illness is the #1 cause of workplace disability. (Government of Canada, 2006)
· 1 in 3 people don’t get the care they need either because they are afraid to ask for help or they don’t have access to care. (Statistics Canada, 2003)
· Mental illness represents 15% of Canada’s burden of disease. (Institute of Health Economics, 2008)
· Only 5.5% of our healthcare dollars in Canada are dedicated to mental illness. (Institute of Health Economics, 2008)
· At any given time, almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression. (CMHA)
· Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population. (CMHA)
· Many people with anxiety disorders go undiagnosed for 10 years or more. (CMHA)
· Every day 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to a form of mental illness. (Government of Canada, 2006.)
I believe self awareness is a fundamental necessity in order for individuals to achieve their goals and have the satisfaction and happiness they deserve in life. Assessing our mental health requires self awareness and self acceptance. I challenge you to embrace the reality of mental health issues, get comfortable with its existence. Only when you’re comfortable with mental health issues can you begin to critically consider if you are one of the 2 in 3 Canadians that are suffering in silence.
Deny no more! Mental health is as serious as any other ailment or disease. Would you ignore cancer? If you did, don’t you expect it will get worse? Guess what, mental health is the same.