Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be a whispered conversation. This week, the Canadian Mental Health Association is asking people to get loud.
It’s Mental Health Week (May 2-8), and while we are sure to know people who suffer from mental illness, there are many more whom we don’t know who are suffering in silence. They may be unwilling to ask for help. They may believe that others won’t care. They may not know that what they’re going through is out of the ordinary. They may not know that their mental health can get better.
That’s why it’s important to get loud. Not talking is easier than talking. Not listening is easier than listening. But people who are depressed need to find the strength to speak up loudly enough that others will listen. Their friends and family members need to ask, ‘How are you doing?’ And even if the answer is ‘fine,’ that needs to be the beginning of the conversation, not the end.
If we are willing and able to talk about mental health, then we can become more familiar with the resources, services and care that is available. There are physicians, psychiatrists, addictions counsellors and crisis line operators, for example, who can help, but any of us can have a role in outreach, doing what we can to ensure those we care about seek the help they need.
Those are some of the most important messages in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s ‘Get Loud’ campaign. Organizers also want people to spread the message in workplaces, in the community and across social media platforms and ask federal and provincial politicians for further funding for mental health programs and services.
The campaign consists of a simple concept that is harder than it sounds. It’s easy to talk about things that don’t matter; we do that every day. It’s hard to talk about something that matters so much.
But when it comes to mental health in our community, we might have to get loud before we can get well.