All of us go through varying stages of mental health change for different reasons, and many of us will experience significant mental health challenges in our lifetime. Normalizing conversations about mental health can save lives and help us all to feel more supported and connected. That’s why, every year in January, the Bell Let’s Talk campaign raises mental health awareness in Canada. As an EAP provider in Canada with a social mission for change, FSEAP is committed to reducing the impact of mental health challenges on individuals and workplaces that are affected. One in four Canadians experience high levels of anxiety – that means someone you know might be struggling, and maybe you are struggling right now as well. When someone asks you how you’re feeling, do you answer honestly? There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and this leads people to hide their pain and their struggle, out of embarrassment or fear of being judged. Let’s change this. Every year, at least 4,500 people die by suicide. Since the pandemic, 20 people die each day as a result of opiate overdose. The cost-of-living crisis, unresolved trauma, and mounting stress levels contribute to Canadians turning to suicide, drugs, and alcohol as a way to cope. This is partially because the stigma around suicide and substance use discourages many people from accessing the support they need. Let’s change this. If you know someone who is struggling, speak to them. If you are struggling, get in touch with loved ones or connect your EAP or a support line for help.
Let’s get talking
One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental health challenges is overcoming the stigma of having a problem and asking for help. Talking openly about mental health challenges is the first step to reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking support. Stigma is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living with these challenges do not seek help. Most people with mental health challenges can and do recover, and the first step is talking about it and being willing to listen to those in need.
Here are 5 simple ways to help end the stigma that keeps too many from seeking help:
Monitor your language: the words you use can make all the difference.
Educate yourself: knowing the facts and myths about mental health can be a great way to help end the stigma.
Be kind: simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.
Listen and ask: being a good listener and asking how you can help can be the first step in recovery.
Talk about it: mental health touches us all in some way, either directly, or through a friend, family member, or colleague.
Anxiety, substance use, suicide, and other mental health challenges can have a tremendous impact on your workplace. Individuals facing these challenges may be taking time off work to cope with their own mental health challenges or to support their immediate family members and friends. Employees may have reduced productivity at work, leading to poor performance and increased potential for errors or conflict within the workplace. For support with ways to start the conversation about mental health in your workplace, connect with FSEAP. We have a number of services that we can offer to help you build a campaign for change in your workplace. You can also download the Bell Let’s Talk Conversation Guides that can be used to lead your own discussion about mental health or talk with someone you might be concerned about. It is essential, now more than ever, to improve our awareness and partner with FSEAP to reduce the impact of mental health challenges on your employees and your workplace. Now we’re talking.