Let’s Listen & Talk, Conquering Mental Illness

Let’s LISTEN to one another, TALK about, bring initiative too and break the chains of stigma surrounding mental illness once and for all. Today holds a lot of significance for mental health awareness, as many of you are well aware through social media initiatives that it is Bell’s, Let’s Talk mental health day. Bell started this conversation in 2010 to bring awareness to mental health in Canada and it has blossomed into something truly incredible. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $79,919,178.55 and they are close to donating at least $100 million through 2020 as per Bells website. This number is staggering and makes me feel hopeful for the future, it also reflects that many have clearly either struggled with mental illness or have been affected by it in their lives at one point or another.

One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives,  this statistic was truly astonishing and eye-opening to me, even as a nurse. It is a sobering reality, we just can’t sweep mental illness under the rug any longer, we need to tackle it head on and have support in place for those who acquire it. One of the largest struggles surrounding mental health illness is the stigma and negativity that is associated with it. If we can get past being ashamed, opening up and talking, being supportive and listening to someone in need, I think we can kick ass in creating a world where mental illness is treated like any other medical illness!

How do we do all this? I cannot express how necessary it is to educate yourself on mental illness, get to know the facts and through that we will break the barriers of myths and stigma. Education is the key and sharing the actual facts and not being afraid of talking will help our mental health initiatives tenfold! Don’t be afraid to ask and listen. Asking can be tough, I understand that, but asking someone in need can be monumental in them opening up and receiving the support/help they deserve. Listening shows you care and can be one of the most supportive actions for those that are reaching out for help and battling their struggle. Of course, as Ellen has taught us, be KIND! From a simple smile, a light squeeze of someone’s hand, a hug, making time for one another, let’s be kind and show our love.

There is a crucial need for action and it starts with you. Let’s join together, be advocates and make mental health awareness an every day journey. Let’s break down the stereotypes, educate ourselves and love one another. Let’s create a world where those struggling with that internal battle are not ashamed to reach out and are provided with timely and appropriate help. I know we have all been affected in way or another by mental health, so what are we waiting for!

Now, my way of starting to spread the love and bring a smile to your heart is through a big ol’ piece of healthy, creamy pumpkin pie… why not bake this for a friend in need?! My Crustless Chai Pumpkin Pie is luscious with restoring and comforting spices, it is always a huge hit with those I’ve served it too! Even better, it is packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals and comes in at only 50 calories a slice. Now to bring this pie to the next level, I whip up some coconut cream and smother it on top, or check out the recipe page for a product recommendation, real coconut whipped cream I found in grocery stores! Um, you’re welcome!

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