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Five Simple Ways to End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Olympic medalist and mental illness awareness advocate, Clara Hughes, discusses her documentary and some of the ways to break down the surrounding stigma.

Language matters
Words can help, but they can also hurt. Pay attention to the words you use.

How you can help: Explain to friends and colleagues who use words like “psycho” or “nut” without thinking that their comments may be hurtful and provide an alternative view.

Educate yourself
Myths exist about mental illness that contribute to the stigma; learn the facts.

How you can help: Learn more, know more, be knowledgeable and help fight stigma with facts.

Be kind
Small acts of kindness speak volumes.

How you can help: Don’t stand by if someone is being labelled or bullied. Treat a person who has a mental illness with the kindness and care you give to people with other illnesses through a friendly smile, a helping hand, a phone call or visit.

Listen and ask
Sometimes it’s best to just listen.

How you can help: Don't trivialize someone's illness. Instead, say: "I’m sorry to hear that, it must be a difficult time. Is there anything I can do to help?"

Talk about it
Start a dialogue, not a debate.

How you can help: Break the silence. Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way, whether it’s directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of lived experience are the best way to help eradicate stigma. Support mental health and anti-stigma programs in your community.


The documentary ‘Clara’s Big Ride’ will premiere in primetime on Bell Let’s Talk Day, Wednesday, January, 28, 2015. It will be available all day on CraveTV and CTV.ca, before airing at 7:00 pm ET/PT in super-simulcast on CTV and CTV Two and live-streamed on CTV GO.


Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day

On January 28, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of that day’s Bell Let’s Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents more to Canadian mental health programs.
Based on its original $50 million donation and the results of the last 4 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell has now committed more than $67.5 million to Canadian mental health.
Bell’s donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let’s Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.

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