Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's Talk and Let's Keep Talking

This is the Let's Talk day sponsored by Bell with former Olympic champion Clara Hughes as one of the spokespersons. The goal is to raise money for mental health support in Canada and while it is a relatively new program it has a high profile and has been quite successful. http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

I laud this initiative because there are so many situations in pastoral ministry related to mental health. It is troubling to me that so many young people struggle with everything from depression to schizophrenia to bipolar illness, yet they and their families have difficulty accessing support and end up feeling even more desparate and alone. Often those of us in ministry feel a combination of helplessness and anger at the lack of available resources. And there is still a stigma attached to mental illness. Often people aren't sure who they can trust, even within their faith families. So they don't talk.

There are also the broader societal issues such as incarcerating mentally ill young people as criminals, with tragic consequences. As the Ashley Smith inquiry continues, we have been made aware of similar situations in other prisons and jails. The mentally ill need to be treated, not imprisoned.

Will you do your part to support the Let's Talk program? Has mental illness affected you or those you love? Let's talk and let's keep talking.

Take a gander at my latest Groundling blog entry.



Anonymous said...

I like this initiative, although I don't text, (have no phone actually) so can't take part. I used to think the biggest obstacle to getting help for mental illness was a person's denial. I now believe it is less about denial and more about the fear of facing stigma that leads sufferers down the path of self-medicating which in turn leads to the self destructive behavours assossiated with addiction. Over time the sufferer becomes 'seen' as an alchoholic/addict and this becomes their identity instead of this downward spiral being recognized as a symptom of both the illness and the system.

IanD said...

You've used your blog to advocate for this day and the peopl it serves before. Thanks for doing that.

I think like many taboo subjects, mental health needs to be dragged into the spotlight for an open and honest discussion. Recent developments would suggest to me that that seems to be happening, or, that a movement to do so is at least picking up steam.

Certainly it's a worthwhile cause.

roger said...

I support any program that opens dialogue on mental illness or that helps reduce the unfortunate stigma that is attached to it.

I remember, as a police officer, picking up people who were wandering on the highway and taking them to the hospital. They were almost always delusional and/or paranoid, and I would hope that they would get the help they needed. Sadly, I knew it was only a matter of time before they were out, and often in no better condition than before.

Nancy said...

The sign on my whiteboard today read: "Mental Health Awareness Day - for every text you send (after school), Bell Canada will donate .05cents to Mental Health Programs." Many students passed the sign, and reached in their pockets to text right away...only to reread the after school piece.:) It was a conversation starter, which is what we want to happen. The more we talk, the more the issues are brought to the forefront and hopefully the more resources are made available.

Amy McC said...

One of the main problems surrounding mental health is lack of education. Depression is a huge mental health problem among teenagers and many teens end up dealing with their depression on their own in unhealthy ways because they do not understand what is considered depression. I find many people only see the extreme cases of depression and forget that depression comes in many forms and degrees that all need to be taken seriously. Kids need to be informed of all the feelings and warning signs of depression so they understand that sadness, frustrations, and isolation are NOT just "teenage phases" and that help is available and they are not alone.