Your Support

The past three days I have written about mental illnesses. While we all know someone struggling in one way or another, we all have wondered what we can do to help. In some cases it’s as simple as leaving that person alone to fight their battle the best way they know how. Sometimes something needs to be done. It could be an encouraging word, it could be a homemade meal, a hug, a talk, or a good laugh or a good run.

Sometimes they will require more help than we can give. But we can still give. The ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of ALS also raised millions of dollars. Those millions of dollars were put forth into research to develop better treatments and hunt for the elusive cure. While there hasn’t been a viral charitable event for mental illnesses there are still some very successful ones.

Bell Aliant’s “Let’s Talk” initiative encourages people to text and tweet in order to raise money. Bell has committed over $73.6 million to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast to coast. The money Bell donates gets used as grant money to any mental health charity who seeks their support. According to their web page their four pillars are Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Workplace Health, and Research.

There is also the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). Their website states:

Your gift supports the Canadian Mental Health Association in its mission to promote mental health and help those with mental illnesses, while keeping our costs low. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.

These two charities are Canadian based. A quick google search will deliver more local results for you.

Can we save the whole world? I don’t know, but it would mean the world to the to those who receive the help they need.

Breaking the Silence!

As I wrote in yesterday’s post I am writing about Mental Health awareness for a bit. Now, I would like to introduce you to my first guest writer -my DW, the mother of Crash and Bang, the one who keeps this family running like a well oiled machine. These are her words written from her heart of hearts. This is her story of strength and how she has persevered in her long battle with the black dog of depression.

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The Hidden Illnesses

Anxiety. Depression. Bi-polar. Grieving. Anger. Stress. Psychosis. Anorexia. Bulimia. PTSD. Mental illness comes in many shapes and sizes and colors. It can easily camouflage itself from those it affects and from those who surround the affected. Diagnosis can be difficult, especially if those who need the help aren’t seeking it. Perhaps they don’t feel it’ll work. Perhaps they don’t believe they need it.

For a little while I was believing the world was getting past the stigma of mental illness. There is a fear of being weak. A fear of appearing crazy. Or psycho. There’s a fear of not being normal, whatever normal may be. However, I’ve come to discover there are still those out there battling, struggling without seeking the proper support for these exact reasons. The stigma and silence needs to be broken.

If you break your ankle, what’s the first thing you do? Go to the hospital for x-rays and they put a cast or a boot on it, give you crutches, tell you to keep off it for a couple weeks, and send you on your way. You seek help. You get the support you need for that ankle to heal properly.

Realizing you have a mental deficiency is a bit trickier to recognize than a broken ankle. There’s no physical pain. There’s nothing to x-ray. Doctors can’t put a cast on it. Crutches and an ice compression are useless. In many cases, those who struggle with mental illness may not even know it and therefore won’t seek the help they need. Essentially, their mental illness never receives proper treatment and therefore never heals.

If left untreated, in the long run, a year, five years, ten years maybe, the struggle could prove to be too much. At best, they suffer alone in silence trying to cope. At second best, they make their illness more visible through actions and or their words yet refuse to get help. At worst, they decide to end the struggle themselves.

Mental illness can often be covered with a mask, hidden from the world behind a smile. Who would have guessed that Robin Williams battled depression his whole life? He was comedian who loved to make people laugh. Surely, someone as outgoing and funny as Mr. Williams couldn’t be depressed.

I’ve been thinking about this for the past year. A year ago I didn’t have a blog. Now I have a blog, I have a voice to the world. So I’m taking the next few days to write about this because I think it’s something that needs discussing. We need to break the stigma and end the silence that surrounds the topic of mental health?

Read part two- Breaking the Silence written by my wife about her battle with depression and getting through it.