By Brianna Fasoli*
In tough times the fragility of one’s mental health is brought to the forefront. This statement rings truest in times such as these when fear and anxiety are constantly at play within our minds. Not only do we have to worry about the persistent threat of a possibly deadly virus infecting us and our loved ones, but our lives and our habits have changed drastically. While these many changes are surely necessary evils to preserve our physical health, our mental health has not taken well to our new way of life. Continually being cooped up in our homes, not being able to see loved ones, friends and coworkers, not to mention the toll this has taken on many people’s livelihoods. The total oppressing isolation of the situation is exacerbating problems new and old and is causing many to be in a very dark state of mind. With that in mind it is obviously no doubt that all of these factors have weighed heavily upon our shoulders and increased our collective anxiety and stress a hundred-fold. With this lovely reminder of how our lives have changed so unbelievably in mind, I would like to focus your attention instead, dear reader, on the valiant efforts of Bell Media to combat our society’s continual battle with mental health issues and conditions.
This past Thursday, January 28, was Bell Let’s Talk Day; a day in which Bell Media offered every citizen a chance in which they could make a difference and support Canadian mental health programs. You may have seen or heard their advertisements on the television or the radio or any of the many social media platforms. The ways in which the Canadian population could participate and contribute to this noble cause were very simple. Among some of those ways there was, Bell’s pledge to donate 5 cents for every call, or text on the Bell service provider. They also promised 5 cents for every view of the official 2021 Bell Let’s Talk video (this year starring Michael Bublé) on all of the mainstream social media platforms. This year through all of these means of support Bell was able to raise $7 958 671.75 to support Canadian mental health organizations.
However, it is not just on days of charitable recognition that we must do our part to aid our society’s ongoing battle with mental health. It’s not like a teenager’s social anxiety or somebody’s debilitating depression disappears for the rest of the year. That is one of the worst parts about struggles with mental health; it is something that cannot be seen and does not always have obvious signs, thus people can end up suffering in silence. Even before the unprecedented emergence of the Coronavirus, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association from an article written in 2018, approximately 3% of Canadian children were suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder. In my personal opinion I believe that number has most likely doubled, if not tripled in the past year due to the newly added stress of online schooling and children’s possible separation from their friends and important support systems.
The subject of mental health is a very delicate one to broach as it affects everyone differently and sometimes is followed by a dark cloud of stigma. However, it is in times like these when it is most important for us to open our minds and our hearts to those around us. We must be willing to offer and ask for support whenever it is needed and continue this healthy dialogue, not just on special days of recognition. I do realize though that for people suffering in silence sometimes it’s very hard to ask for help, especially for those suffering from anxiety for fear of rejection and dismissal of their feelings. That is why it is so important for us to keep an eye out for signs of mental health struggles in those we care for, parents especially considering this situation. Check up on your friends and keep in touch, as sometimes it just takes one kind word to remind someone that they aren’t alone and unloved. We don’t always know what is going on inside someone’s head.
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*Brianna Fasoli is a Secondary 4 student at Rosemere High School and part of our Young Journalists program at North Shore News.