Bell Let’s Talk: The Impact of Stigma
Adolescence is a critical period for the identification and management of mental health disorders. Without appropriate help, such disorders can be damaging to a young person’s relationships, school and future life path. Many barriers are associated with seeking mental health services and one of those barriers is experiencing stigma.
- Stigma is the attitude and discrimination is the result
- Stigma means thinking less of a person because of his or her condition
- Stigma can make people feel unwanted and ashamed for something that is not their choice or fault
In the classroom, stigma associated with mental illness can affect how teachers, classmates, and peers treat the student living with a mental health disorder. School-based anti-stigma activities present an opportunity to enhance understanding of mental illness and improve attitudes towards people living with mental illness. Furthermore, school-based anti-stigma activities reach people on all social levels, from teachers, principals and administrators to parents and community members to most importantly, the students themselves.
These are 5 ways to communicate about mental illness, show your support, and can help those who struggle to overcome their concerns about seeking help:
- Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness
- Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs and symptoms of mental
- Be kind – small acts of kindness speak a lot
- Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen
- Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence
Bell Let’s Talk Day is Wednesday, January 29, 2020
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. For more information on Bell Let’s Talk day, please visit https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day.
For resources and information on mental illness and stigma please visit the following:
Leah Hirst is a Health Promotion Facilitator for Alberta Health Services