Meet Aidan Scott.
Scott hasn’t had it easy. Diagnosed with anorexia, post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder stemming from a history of childhood abuse, he’s faced some significant hurdles. But through therapy and the support of his friends, he has taken back control of his life and made it his mission to reduce the stigma around mental illness and make it easier for people to access professional help.
Scott’s peers played an important role in his recovery, but he recognizes that being a friend to a person in crisis can be tough. After all, mental illness isn’t an easy topic for many people to talk about. “What should I say? What shouldn’t I say? Is any of this actually helping? Am I making things worse?” Too often, we become so concerned with saying the wrong thing that everything comes out awkwardly, or worse yet, we don’t say anything at all.
“It’s okay to ask ‘How’s it going?’” says Scott. “Just know that I might come back and say, ‘It’s not okay.’ But that’s okay, because then we can talk about it. Having a conversation? That’s what helps.”
Watch the video above for more tips from Scott on how you can support someone with a mental illness without things getting all “weird.” So the next time you’re not sure what to say, you can skip the awkward phase and jump straight to being an awesome friend.
It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 27, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using #BellLetsTalk or sharing the Bell Let’s Talk image on Facebook. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.