Today is Let’s Talk Day in Canada, sponsored by Bell. The initiative is intended to encourage people to talk about mental illness in relation to individuals, the workplace, and at a national/government level.
One of the main pillars of the initiative is to overcome the stigma that most people who suffer from a mental illness experience.
Stigma is defined as a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something. The unfair beliefs that are often placed upon someone who has a mental illness add significantly to the suffering already experienced due to the illness. Try to imagine the weight of shame, guilt and isolation being added to an already heavy load of illness.
Howie Mandell’s contribution to the video series from celebrities talking about their experience with their own mental illness expresses how important being able to talk is.
In my experience as a life coach, it’s so common for the people I serve to express how much better they feel after having talked to me about their struggles, their emotions, their thoughts, and yes, even their celebrations with someone who is just willing to listen. No judgement, no fixing, no advice…just understanding, empathy, and acceptance.
The people who come to me are not necessarily suffering with a diagnosed mental illness but they are certainly struggling to manage thoughts that lead to feeling sad, unworthy, not enough, unmotivated, unhappy, frustrated, stuck, lost, etc.
And even though my clients don’t typically have a diagnosed mental illness, they still feel the stigma connected with seeking emotional/mental/spiritual support. As easy as it is for them to freely talk about going to a massage therapist, physiotherapist, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc., those same people often don’t talk about hiring me to be their life coach. They don’t tell their friends, they don’t tell their partners, they don’t tell their children, they don’t tell people at their workplace.
I have a favour to ask everyone reading this on Let’s Talk Day. Play your part in reducing the stigma.
- If you tend to hide your uncomfortable feelings, share them. By you being open, you may create a safe enough environment for someone else who is suffering emotionally to open up and talk to you.
- If you’re hurting emotionally/mentally/spiritually, make a decision to talk to someone who will support you. Maybe it’s a friend or maybe it’s a professional (life coach, counsellor, therapist, doctor). By you taking the step to ask for help, you’re leading by example and showing that it’s actually ok to talk about feelings and ask for support. In addition, if you take care of your own mental/emotional/spiritual health, you will be so much more able and ready to support others.
- If you are currently or have in the past received support from any sort of mental/emotional/spiritual health professional at any time, tell people. You can play a role in normalizing getting help with improving your mental wellness. If you talk about the positive benefits of your experience, you may reduce some of the fear that may be preventing a person from reaching out for help for themselves.
Heal your own hurt so you can be strong enough to help others to heal theirs.
If you want to talk, why not schedule a free life coaching consult with me? It’s a chance to talk about where you feel currently stuck in your life and explore options for how you might move forward, with or without ongoing coaching support. I offer a safe space for you to be yourself and unload some of the heaviness you carry so you can grow forward into being your best self with more ease. Let’s connect.
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