Mental health awareness has grown significantly over the years, but particularly within the last decade. Part of that is due to the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. As with most concerning issues, getting a large company involved as a sponsor can create a big boost in turning it into a mainstream topic. But mental health issues didn’t arise out of nowhere.

It’s been a noteworthy subject for much longer than ten years. With the rise of social media, users have also helped circulate important messages through videos, campaigns and hashtags. With that, we can help to end the stigma of mental health. Despite it growing on people’s minds, that doesn’t mean everyone has embraced the fact that this very real issue is relevant to everyone. In fact, it is my experience that there has been a significant increase in the utilization of mental health services in every age group in the life cycle (ie. from children to the elderly).

Here are some ways you can help to end mental health stigma:

Talk about it

If someone in your organization is facing mental health issues, directly encourage them to speak with someone about it. Not everyone has to have ongoing depression or anxiety to warrant seeing a professional counsellor. Isolated stressors can trigger situational anxiety, stress, and, depression, at any time. Those affected may only need one or a few sessions with a professional counsellor to address the issue, but also may benefit from seeing a counsellor on a more regular basis. Regardless of the frequency, speaking with a professional counsellor may significantly help someone understand and resolve any feelings of sadness, worry, or anger in a growingly complex world.

Vent about it

It is perfectly understandable for someone to want to keep counselling to themselves However, I recommend advising that there is no reason to be reluctant about seeking treatment. If they are the kind of person who opens up to family and friends, they could benefit by sharing their feelings in a safe and welcoming environment.

Please note that we always emphasize the confidentiality of our Student Assistance Programs (SAP) when speaking to students, and, family members.

Share about it

Continuing with the social media stratosphere, posting helpful messages about the benefits of counselling would further help spread awareness about mental health to people. While many of us are not consistently in touch with people on our social networks, we never know how positively we may be able to impact someone else within this virtual circle.

Lastly, we can all do our part to help end the mental health stigma. To connect with more people online, try using hashtags like #endstigma, #mentalhealth, #mentalillness, #nokiddingmetoo, #selfcare and #selfhelp. Most importantly, I always encourage people to take advantage of our SAP services when they need them.