It’s 2016, and we’ve made some pretty cool advances over the past few decades. Justin Trudeau’s federal political cabinet is essentially 50 per cent female. A black man has been the president of the United States. LGTBQ is something people actually openly discuss.
So why on earth is there still so much stigma around mental health?
It’s not like it’s an uncommon thing — according to CAMH at least 20 per cent of the Canadian population will be personally touched by mental illness in their lifetime, and at least eight per cent of the population will experience major depression at some point in their lives. Furthermore, anxiety touches roughly five per cent of the average household population.
These are some pretty serious stats if you ask us. So why not talk about them?
As it turns out some people are more than ready to share, and their message has already had a far-reaching impact. Through the power of Facebook, U.K. resident Amber Smith shared a touching before and after picture of herself following a panic attack brought on by anxiety. The result? Nearly 17,000 shares and a slew of others who have been inspired to do the same.
“I’ve been battling with anxiety and depression for years and years and there’s still people that make comments like, ‘You’ll get over it,’ ‘You don’t need tablets, just be happier,’ ‘You’re too young to suffer with that,'” she writes in the post below. “F— all of you small minded people that think that because I physically look ‘fine’ that I’m not battling a monster inside my head every single day.”
What Smith writes about hits home for anyone suffering from anxiety. Catastrophic thoughts, the inability to stop thinking a certain way, phobias, OCD and PTSD are just some of the jumping-off points a person with an anxiety disorder may be dealing with at any given time. Thanks to the various filters available across social media, and our general need to keep up with the Jones’, it’s not often that we showcase our true selves the way Smith has done here.
“I can’t stress enough that it costs nothing to be nice to others. Don’t bully others, don’t put others down and the hardest one of them all (as we have all done it at some point) don’t judge another person,” Smith continues. “We’re all human regardless of age, race, religion, wealth, job. So build one another up instead of breaking each other down.”
Now that’s a reminder we could all use once in a while.
Are you or someone you know suffering in silence from a mental health issue? Add your story to Bell Let’s Talk and let’s keep the conversation going.