Keep Talking About Mental Health

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By now most everyone agrees that 2017 is presenting a wealth of opportunity to work with a changing environment – especially in healthcare. Citizen voices and political representatives are telling us that change is needed. With so much time being spent on the policy and nuts-and-bolts of healthcare, we’re reminded not to ignore mental health issues – those issues that impact people at home, at the office, at school, and throughout healthcare.

Our friends at Bell Canada have helped spark the mental health conversion with its annual Bell Let’s Talbell_laviek Day for 2017.  According to Bell Canada, “Bell Let’s Talk promotes awareness and action with a strategy built on 4 key pillars: Fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research, and leading by example in workplace mental health.”

I suggest checking out and supporting their wonderful initiative! Bell is making donations to mental health > Each time you tweet on January 25 using #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.

Dr. Heather Stuart, the first Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at 20120618-gb-heather-stuart-campaign-136-editQueen’s University, offers these 5 simple ways to communicate about mental illness without fear or stigma:

  • Language matters: pay attention to the words you use about mental illness
  • Educate yourself: learn, know and talk more, understand the signs
  • Be kind: small acts of kindness speak a lot
  • Listen and ask: sometimes it’s best to just listen
  • Talk about it: start a dialogue, break the silence

 

 

Of course, just talking about a problem isn’t a solution on its own. It is the first step and must be followed by action in all its various forms. What forms does action in mental health take? As Dr. Stuart mentioned, educating ourselves is an important step. Just as important is being empathetic to those we meet by not only being kind but listening and being available to help.

For more background on mental health issues in healthcare and the impacts to clinicians and all healthcare workers, feel free to go back and take a look at the #hcldr blog The Hidden Mental Health Epidemic from September 2016.

This week on #hcldr, let’s talk about the conversation on mental health and how that impacts each of us both professionally and personally.

Join the #hcldr community of professionals, patients, clinicians, administrators, lurkers, counselors, social workers, designers, and advocates! Please join us on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017 at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1: What value do you see in “Talking about mental health” with peers and friends? At work & at home?
  • T2: What personal/professional experiences can you share about the stigma that persists around mental health?
  • T3: How does this mental health conversation become part of the fabric for the many varied sectors of healthcare? Should it?
  • T4: How can social media communities continue to act as primary & secondary supports for those in distress? Suggestions?

 

Resources

“Bell Let’s Talk” Bell Canada. 2017  http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

Accessed Jan 22, 2017

 

“The Hidden Mental Health Epidemic” Joe Babaian, hcldr.org, September 2016. https://hcldr.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/the-hidden-mental-health-epidemic/

Accessed Jan 22, 2017

 

“Starting the Conversation” NAMI, August 2016. https://www.nami.org/collegeguide/download

Accessed Jan 22, 2017

 

“Let’s Call Mental Health Stigma What It Really Is: Discrimination” Lindsay Holmes, Huffington Post, September 26, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mental-health-discrimination_us_57e55d07e4b0e28b2b53a896

Accessed Jan 21, 2017

 

“Tackling mental health stigma will require more than just goodwill” JS Bamrah & Kailash Chand, The Guardian, January 24, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/jan/24/tackling-mental-health-stigma-will-require-more-than-just-goodwill

Accessed Jan 24, 2017

 

“Stigma and Mental Illness.” CDC, June 18, 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics/stigma-illness.htm

Accessed Jan 20, 2017

 

Image Credit

http://imgur.com/a/wQjKs

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