Once again, it’s a telecommunications giant’s day of hashtagging to promote themselves and an open discussion of mental illness…
But for one day only.
That being said, mental illness is a 24/7 365 kinda thing for those who live with it. My struggle with mental illness, particularly depression, PTSD and anxiety disorder has been ongoing since 2014. I still go for treatment and I am often told that I should:
– be grateful that a large corporation runs this campaign.
– REALLY should try to get over things.
And one person asked “what are YOU bringing to the table?”
These are people who have used the branded frame on their profile picture and reposted the hashtag many times. They’re all pretty aware folks however repeated the VERY SAME stigmatizing talk that the day is supposed to be avoiding IN THE NAME OF the day!
Let’s talk is a good first step towards ongoing conversations regarding mental health issues. It was a good first step taken in 2011 and seven years later we’re STILL ON that “good first step.”
Let’s talk raised $100 million and counting for mental health organizations, yet a 50 minute session with a counsellor still costs $160 for those without comprehensive health insurance plans.
I won’t comment that one of the organizations who benefits from this is notoriously “top heavy” with executives and has a reputation of a focus on “white collar” mental health issues while trying avoid the “messier” diagnoses.
THIS is why I seem ungrateful:
– If they truly cared the hashtag would read #letstalk without the advertising. I’m all for talking about destigmatizing mental health, however, even as a customer, I am NOT going to extend social media reach.
– This campaign treats dealing with mental health issues as a “holiday” instead of removing the stigma by forcing people to deal with Mental Health issues as I do – 365 days a year. This is why I post about my struggles – often triggering the “get over it/yourself” comment.
And it wasn’t just me – I know of other people struggling who were targeted for being critical of the campaign while sharing their experiences. These three other people have been up front and open regarding their struggles and LIVE “mental health awareness” 24/7 365.
I guess by talking and writing publicly of our struggles, we are whining and not contributing. Because we currently don’t have a bright and shiny story that ends with a “happily ever after” to suit a corporate video campaign, our struggles don’t fit the “let’s talk” paradigm.
I guess my having an inexplicably bad day where things are just “meh” or worse for absolutely no reason whatsoever doesn’t fit the “let’s talk” paradigm.
I guess by repeatedly advertising services who support mental health treatment and provide crisis intervention, working as both a social worker and lay minister doesn’t fit the “let’s talk” paradigm.
I’m not doing this to complain or to be an “inspiration,” I’m trying to get people to understand that mental illness treatment is an ongoing process that may not have a tidy ending with all loose ends neatly tied in a bow.
Dear friends, if you were truly invested in ending stigma around mental health beyond feeling good for posting/tweeting a hashtag to raise 5 cents, you would engage your friends who haven’t had their happily ever after and still struggle.
You WOULDN’T tell them to get over it. You’d be there to listen, you’d ask them if there is anything they can do and if not you’d JUST BE THERE.
Fuck. The residents in the Hundred Acre Wood accepted Eeyore, despite his chronic depression!
To instead of a hashtag, let’s share information regarding the resources.
If you are depressed, in distress, or in crisis, call the Distress Centre.
Coast Hamilton Hamilton Crisis Line 24 hours – 905-972-8338
Barrett Centre for crisis support 905-529-7878 (24 hour crisis support phone line, 10 residential beds for 3-5 day crisis stay, DBT skills group, CAMS therapy)
Salvation Army army HOPE LINE…1-855-294-HOPE
Sacha Hamilton 24 hour support line 905-525-4162