I can appreciate it because Bell encourages people to talk about mental illness in order to eliminate the stigma associated to it. Which other major corporations are doing that? Bell started this initiative back in 2011 and since then they have raised over $100 million. The concept behind it is pretty simple, for every tweet that uses the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, share of the image on Facebook, and text message or mobile/long distance call made by Bell users Bell on January 27, will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives.
Bell Let’s Talk day empowers those like me to share their story with others. I have seen my social media flooded by people coming out about their experiences and it feels like a victory. It helped to solidify that I wasn’t alone because there are other people going through similar things. I say similar because people believe that we’re all the same and we’re not. You can’t tell me that everyone with breast cancer had the same experience. It’s the same thing as any medical condition, we may have the same mental health disorders but the way we live through them are completely different.
I hate Let’s Talk Day because it limits us to one day a year, as it’s the only day I ever see more than a handful of people talking about mental health on my social media. It turns mental health into a fad, shining the spotlight on it then quickly casting it aside once again. The amount of tweets and posts filled with statistics and hallow promises to be there and “It gets better [heart emoji]”. It makes us ‘talk’ about it but is anyone really listening? The reason why I say hallow is because I’ve tried to approach some of these people who are seemingly supportive and I get the same responses. “Really, you’re depressed?” “You have social anxiety… but you seem really sociable” Do people actually know anything about mental health other than what is listed in the DSM? Unfortunately, I really doubt it.
Is texting, tweeting, sharing, and calling on one day going to change your life for the better? Let’s not kid ourselves, it won’t.
We can continue the conversation even without Bell and here’s how you can do it around campus.
Okay, so the Storyteller is not technically affiliated to Ryerson but it’s too amazing a concept not to share. It is a online platform for people to share their experiences and the best thing about it is it’s available 365 days a year (I guess 366 this year). You can read other peoples’ submissions or you can share your own. Submissions aren’t limited to mental health and can be about any topic, in any form of media: stories, poetry, art, music, etc. As long as they aren’t racist, homophobic, transfobic, sexist, ablest, sanist, or discriminatory in any way they will be shared. If you want to read more about The Storyteller, I previously wrote about it here. If you want to go directly to the site click here.
Ryerson SMASH (Students for Mental Awareness, Support, and Health)
SMASH is affiliated to Ryerson. It is a mental health and well-being group created by students for students. It offers a supportive environment and increases mental health initiatives on campus. They strive to make Ryerson a safe environment so that we can openly talk about mental health. Check out their website here or click here to formally become a member to receive emails and updates.
Ryerson Mental Wellbeing
This website offers resources for not only students but also their families and faculty and staff. There are 24-Hour Crisis Service numbers on the website as well as the links to other services available at Ryerson like the Centre for Student Development and Counseling. For more information click here.
Ryerson Student Development and Counselling
Did you know that Ryerson offers free counseling services? Well they do. They’ll set you up with a triage nurse and from your initial meeting you can decide what the best route for you to take will be. There is one-to-one counseling as well as group counseling. For more information click here.