This was not an easy one to write and I know that makes me part of the problem. I’m here to correct that.
My first foray into advocacy for mental health involved raising $2,000 for The Brookline Center, now called the Brookline Community Mental Health Center.
I raised the money through generous friends and family and ran the 2003 Boston Marathon with a team of runners who also supported the center.
Shortly after the race I started seeing a psychotherapist on a regular basis to help me manage big, overwhelming life issues. We talked about divorce, suicide, and abusive relationships.
By the time I moved to Canada, I felt like I had enough tools in my toolbox to cope with whatever life wanted to throw at me.
Fast forward eight years. I found myself in a winter where I couldn’t make it out the door of our condo to walk the dog without crying. I wondered what it would be like to disappear from my life, to walk away from it all.
I didn’t know if I suffered from seasonal affective disorder, if I felt too isolated working by myself from home, or if I had introduced far too much change into my life that I no longer had the skills to cope. It didn’t matter what caused it; I knew I needed help.
I found help in a naturopathic doctor specializing in mental health. I also found it in a warm, caring psychotherapist who I still see regularly as part of my mental health maintenance routine along with more time outdoors, exercise, and a decently clean diet.
Let’s Talk Mental Health
Every January Bell promotes its Let’s Talk campaign. It has raised significant money for initiatives across the country. I want us to do even better this year. Let’s talk all year long. Let’s talk all across the globe.
- Last year in British Columbia, 914 people died of illicit drug overdoses. 738 (80%) of those who overdosed were men.
- At least 54 Canadian soldiers died by suicide after serving in Afghanistan alone.
- Our youth are the most vulnerable population for mental health issues, especially our youth in northern First Nations’ communities.
Mental illness will affect all of us – directly or indirectly – at some point in our lives. Let’s end the stigma. Let’s save lives. Let’s talk.