Get Loud for Mental Health

Editorial

Tuesday, May 3 2016

May 2, 2016 will be the start of the 65th Mental Health Week in Canada. This year’s theme is to Get Loud!

Organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association, MHW’s theme of Get Loud is based on speaking up to stop the discrimination and the stigma that often go hand in hand with mental illness. Using a voice to raise awareness and build support. For someone at home. For someone at work. For ourselves.

For starters, CMHA is asking people to wear green through the week. Green ribbons were used in the 1800s to label people “insane.” The idea is to turn that on its head. Wear green to show support for everyone’s mental health.

Get Loud and speak up. We often suffer quietly, even silently. One of the ways to Get Loud is to speak up. Talk openly to someone you feel safe with: a loved one or a friend. If they’re informed and supportive, they won’t judge or shame you about your mental health concerns. They may even have their own concerns, and you’d be opening a dialogue. Either way, talking about it can end the silence and the shame imposed by others. And the shame that we sometimes impose on ourselves. Get Loud about your own mental health.

Get Loud and be that friend. Anyone can be that friend who opens up the conversation. Start by simply asking “How are you, really?” Offer to listen without judgment. And offer to do what can be done personally to help.   

Get Loud to get help. There’s been talking. There’s been listening. But maybe no one knows what to do next. Now’s the time to Get Loud with the family doctor. Tell the doctor support is needed. Mental health services are often available in the community and the doctor will likely know how to connect to them. For those in crisis, please don’t wait. Go to the hospital emergency department or call 9-1-1.

Get Loud get loud for more mental health supports and services: Don’t stop at seeking help. Demand it. Get Loud with elected representatives. Tell them there is a need for increased mental health funding for more – and better – mental health programs and services. Governments at every level need to hear that mental health is a top health priority for all Canadians.

We all want to be healthy and happy. No one can be truly healthy without positive mental health. It involves how we feel, think, act and interact with the world around us.