Let’s End the Stigma

John Abbott Hosts Annual Bell Let’s Talk in Agora

by Vanessa Gueorguieva

The end of January is approaching fast. Do you know what that means? Well, it means that you can actively participate in changing the stigma surrounding mental illness! Indeed, on January 27th, the Healthy Campus Committee of John Abbott, with the participation of mental health and anti-stigma programs from the community, will be hosting the annual Bell Let’s Talk event. This very popular activity is not only fun and educational, but it is also a crucial step towards helping the whole College community learn about facts and myths surrounding mental illness. Topics such as social anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders, and how to help a friend who has a mental illness will be discussed. Everyone is encouraged to come by and check out our numerous booths! From discussion cafés, diffusion of TED talks, to current research paths and fun games, there is surely something there to interest you.

Source: Student Activities Facebook Page
Source: Student Activities Facebook Page

Our mission is simple: we want to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental health is a subject that, admittedly, is often overlooked, yet it is an issue of great concern. Mental illness represents 15% of the burden of disease in Canada. It is also the leading cause of disability in the country, accounting for 30% of disability claims and representing 70% of the total costs. Yet only 5.5% of Canadian healthcare dollars are dedicated to mental illness.

According to the CMHA, only 1 out of 5 Canadian children who need mental health services receive them. Not only are resources often lacking for the people who need support, the Canadian Mental Association reports that 2 out of 3 people suffer in silence, fearing judgement and rejection. It is important to realize that mental health is like any another illness, and that the people who are afflicted deserve good care, a support network and help as well.

In the light of this realization, Bell has been the decided to promote awareness events and has promised to give an additional 5 cents for mental health initiatives for every, tweet using #BellLetsTalk, or share of their Facebook Page.

It has also committed over $100 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast. We applaud this initiative and are hosting this event in order to help drive the local and national conversation, promote awareness and reduce stigma. Talking may indeed be the first step towards creating lasting change. Now is your chance to be part of it! Help us make a transformative impact on the mental health discussion and well-being of Canadians.

On-campus resources for students who might want to talk further about mental health can be found in the Health and Wellness Centre (nurses and doctors) , H-139, or in the Counselling Department in H-148.

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