Today, January 25th is #BellLetsTalk day. For those of you who have no clue what that is, all day today, Bell (a communications giant in Canada) will be donating money toward funding programs for Mental illness. Today, I do my part by tweeting the heck out of the hashtag #BellLetsTalk hastag. This year, they even have a video of Howie Mandel encouraging people to tweet and for each time the video is viewed, bell will donate an additional 5 cents to the cause. Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking 5 cents? What can that do? Think about it. If this video is viewed 5 million times that’s 250, 000 dollars atop what is racked up from the views. That’s 250,000 that the cause did not have before.
There are a couple of things that irritated me about today so far which I’m not going to get into. I’m just going to say, trying to sell bagel while “celebrating Bell Lets Talk” its not cool and being pissed at bell because your province/town/city doesn’t have enough being done toward helping those with mental illnesses is ridiculous. Bell isn’t the one to be blamed for that. Go talk to your local MP and demand to know what they are doing for the cause.
There is still a major stigma when it comes to those who suffer from a mental illness. People still try to avoid talking about the topic. My experiences have been different. For a few years I suffered from depression. I’m from a very hardcore Jamaican family so when I told my mother I was depressed, she promptly told me that I needed to “find something to do” and that “there was nothing wrong with” me. Find something to do? I was working, at times 2 jobs – one of which was like walking into the depths of hell every time I walked through the door, writing full time, trying to be a young adult with a social life and everything that comes with it–I had plenty going on at the time.
I saw my family doctor who refused to refer me to a mental healthy practitioner because in her views I was just sad.
Now let me be frank – I have been sad. When my grandmother passed, I was sad. When a book doesn’t hit the best sellers list on Amazon, I get sad. When I miss my niece, I get sad – What I was feeling for three years wasn’t sadness. It was a constant dark cloud over my head. I would burst into tears for no reason. I would spend days off, locked in my room, sometimes curled into a ball. I thought of death and dying often and even contemplated suicide a couple of times.
But I am one of the lucky few. I have a few friends and a niece who wouldn’t let me slip by the way side like so many others have been. Even though it cost me a pretty penny, I went out and saw someone for my problems, while my friends (especially my BFF Tster) had my back, encouraging me, checking in on me, helping me to lift myself out of this hole I seemed to have fallen into.
There is a disconnect between our generation today and our parents and grandparents when it comes to mental health. Most of our cultures really don’t believe in it, that the mind sometimes requires healing. They think we are merely weak or we have too much time on our hands.
But we know better so we have to do better.
We must educate those around us that mental illness isn’t a weakness. Let’s face it, if those “Strong” people had to live a day in our lives at the height of our illness they would not survive it. Mental health isn’t something we are supposed to talk about in the dark and it shouldn’t be an elephant in the room. We are pass the days when the family member with the mental illness should be sent off to the countryside to help their disposition. Today, we are better–today we know that by facing the illness head on, and seeking help, we can help the person with the illness. We can help them improve be it with medication or just some TLC.
Seeking help for depression in Ontario without a doctor’s referral is crazy expensive. I am not going to lie. And I don’t understand why this is not covered under OHIP since so many young people are suffering from depression–real, true depression. Seeing my doctor was $130 an hour plus tax.
The average cost to see a psychotherapist, as per therapy Toronto is between $125-175 per session. And you wanna know the kicker? You have to pay taxes on that because apparently it is not considered a medical expense! I’m not sure of the government’s reasoning behind that because if something affect your health and could quite possibly cause your death, I’d say that’s medical, wouldn’t you?
This is a problem. Someone shouldn’t have to die from their mental illness for something to be done about the outrageous cost of getting help. This is why Bell is doing the let’s talk campaign every year. We need to face this–we are losing too many young people to mental illnesses that are quite treatable. Making someone feel like garbage for admitting they need help then making that help cost a king’s ransom is morally wrong and shouldn’t be happening.
So since we require a day for this, let’s show people suffering from mental health that they are beautiful, they are wonderfully made, and that there is nothing to be ashamed about. Let’s raise awareness as well as money for the issue – this is a big way to give everyone’s brains a big hug – oh ick…well maybe forget about the hug, but you know what I mean.
So please, tweet, retweet with the hastag #BellLetsTalk and well, Let’s talk!