Mental health awareness: not just January, but every month


Ameer Shash | Staff Writer

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay

As midterms approach, tensions and emotions run high. Families are pressing their children to reach their maximum potential to secure their dream job that “pays well,” build a name for themselves, and uphold family dignity. For hours on end, students will immerse themselves in textbooks and hurriedly submit documents online.  

In many families, though, speaking about mental health is practically non-existent and having a mental illness is shameful in some cultures. January is half-way point of the school year, and students just hope to be able to plow through the remainder of the year with decent grades. Being caught up with studies and sometimes a part-time job can mean forgetting about self-care — physically and mentally. Fortunately, many corporations and businesses are taking a stand by letting social media be a voice to many who sit in silence to the stigma surrounding mental health.

January is renowned for Bell Let’s Talk Day: an initiative created by Bell Canada to advocate and educate others about mental health awareness and self-care. Their initiative, which began in January 2011, encourages Canadians to use hashtag symbols in conjunction with ‘BellLetsTalk’ and ‘MentalHealthAwareness’ on social media with their posts. 

Alternatively, if you are a Bell Canada customer, every text or call made on their network contributes to the cause. The power of medical innovation is, quite literally, at the tip of your fingers. The annual initiative also aims to destigmatize mental health and open up a conversation about the struggles of living with mental illness.  This is also the time where on-campus support services are the most critical.

While technology can aid so much in advocating for a great cause, if you are a student who believes studying comes before self-care, you may want to reassess your disposition. When your brain is fogged and in the clouds, how can you expect to achieve success in school? 

Unfortunately, many students deal with adversities during their learning. The loss of a family member, emotional abuse from a loved one, a traumatic event — and especially when it happens for the first time, one can be at a standstill. It takes a lot of time for someone grieving to rationalize what has happened. Time can heal, but time can also manifest itself into a spreading “infection” on the brain. This is why it is important to seek help when and where possible, and without delay. 

If you’re someone who is feeling down, put your head up and look around. Our school’s community has an array of support groups, services, and clubs where one can open up without feeling judged or ashamed. Mental health initiatives are imperative for us all, and we must continue to talk about this not only in January, but every day of the year. 

Since #BellLetsTalk’s inception, $100 million dollars has been raised for the cause. Canadians remain hopeful that technological advancements in both medicine and social media enhance the lives of those living with mental health challenges.

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