January 26 is “Bell Let’s Talk” – Editor’s Note
Now more than ever, our communities are inundated with stigmas — the general lack of understanding of mental illness. Those who seek therapy most likely do so because of the impact caused by individuals who need therapy, too. Those who are ignorant of their own needs may not realize how their actions or words can effect others long-term. Through my research, it seems that everyone has some form of a dividing issue, or has inherited behavioural issues. We know so much more today than our ancestors, so it’s time to create a stigma-free world.
The toughest and most challenging stigmas are created right in our homes by friends, neighbours, relatives and coworkers.
When these issues have been established over time and become entrenched, they can be difficult to remove and overcome.
As a society, we attach stigmas to individuals and groups that are viewed negatively and often shame them for perceived shortcomings and differences. It is those individuals who need the most empathy and help to understand underlying issues.
Social stigma often surrounds mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depression sufferers are often stereotyped as lazy, while those with anxiety are deemed spineless, but psychologists say that people with psychological issues want to lead normal, healthy and happy lives.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), there are seven things we can do to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
1. Be informed. Get to know mental illness, addiction and other substance-use disorders.
2. Know your attitude and behaviour. Reflect on your upbringing and society’s influence on your thinking.
3. Use your words wisely. We shape others’ attitudes through our words.
4. Teach others. Inform others of facts and dispel myths.
5. Look for the good. Addictions and mental illnesses are only a part of anyone’s overall picture.
6. Help others. Offer support, encouragement and dignity to all.
7. Include everyone. Discrimination against anyone with these issues is against the law.
Whether you have children or not, a recommended read is, “The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)” by author Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist for the past 20 years.
We wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Cheers to 2022 and remember, Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be.
Editor-In-Chief, City Parent