It was just Canada’s 150th birthday. For the next 150 years, let’s commit to truly improving our world — this means doing something worthwhile, and make lasting change that is modern, to-the-point, and inclusive of everybody.
We need to be real. Online we seem to only post images and status updates of ourselves having fun and enjoying life; however, what we do not often see are the hard times – the times where we cry, or feel sad. We all have them. Consequently, for many, when we feel this way, we feel alone and like an outsider.
The stigma toward mental health, mental illness and addictions is suffocating.
The limited and often unauthentic conversation surrounding this very basic component of human life – vulnerability – only perpetuates the stigma, stereotype, and lack of compassion for those suffering mental health, illness, and/or addiction challenges, as well as those fighting battles such as homelessness or other socially-tabooed living conditions (of which mental health is linked to). Speaking from a youth perspective: we are the leaders of the next generation, and we need to start acting like it – we need to take charge.
Everyone has a different story. In order to break the stigma, we need to become united as one population.
This campaign is for you, but this is also for another person, that is perhaps miles away, who is suffering in silence.
We need to start the conversation: and I don’t mean with flyers giving resources for depression, though there is a place for that, definitely; but what I mean, is having active conversation, and by disembowelling the stigma which keeps so many of us suffering in silence.
- Post vulnerably:
- Make a post discussing your challenges and triumphs with mental health, mental illness, and/or addictions; post a vulnerable thought — something that shows your humanity. Use the hashtag #IamReal
- In a paragraph, try to describe what’s going on inside your head – both on good days and bad days. Be honest. You can submit your thoughts anonymously if you wish, in this Google Form, and I will display them on social media.
- If you would like to share, in a longer forum, your story — your experiences, challenges and triumphs of what has helped you become the person you are today — send me an email or message me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to schedule an interview.
Share your story. Together we can beat the stigma and truly begin the conversation.
Either of these can be anonymous, if you want but overall I encourage you to proudly own your vulnerabilities and what makes you human.
If you want your story to be anonymous: upload an audio recording, put something over your webcam or share your thoughts through writing and you can send me your story via Facebook or over email — I will communicate it without mentioning any details that would identify you.
Please make sure to check out the Resources page for local professional support services.
We need to showcase our reality: by showcasing our true humanity. It may not look pretty, but human nature sometimes isn’t. In order to crush the stigma that allows millions each year to suffer in silence — and to take their own lives — we need to swallow our pride, have difficult conversations, and put ourselves out in the world so that those afraid to embrace or seek support for their difficulties will feel empowered to do so.
It is my hopes that, given time and interest, regular interviews can be conducted with ‘at-risk’ populations, through the Interviews Project, to further disassemble the stigma of mental health, illness and addictions. If you wish to involve yourself with this, please send me an email or message me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Our vulnerabilities make us human. What are yours?
Own them. Share them. Shout them.