While mental health has been more openly addressed in the past few years and has started becoming more accessible to students notably in post-secondary institutions, it has often been glossed over and commercialized. The truth is that there still remains this hanging stigmatization and taboo around seeking help.
Here are a few things that most of us need to unlearn:
- You don’t need to have a clinically diagnosed condition to talk to a professional. You know yourself best. If you feel unwell and/or want to speak to someone – reach out.
- Not all mental health resources are pricy. A lot of services that offer assistance online, via phone calls or through your school (if you’re a student) are free.
- You can try any free service on a drop-in basis without commitment, and even if you’re paying for a certain professional’s help – if you don’t think they’re the right fit for you, you are allowed to find someone else better suited to respond to your needs and cancel an upcoming session.
- Along those lines, you don’t have to settle for anyone’s service or professional. If that means finding a therapist who looks like you, identifies as the same gender as you (or is gender non-conforming or non-binary like you) and/or speaks your mother tongue, don’t be afraid to keep looking. It’s okay if the process takes time.
- You don’t need to hide that you’re seeing someone or seeking help. It won’t scare off those who really care for you. If anything, it might encourage them to seek help for themselves.
- It’s okay if verbalizing your problems doesn’t solve them. If at the very least you feel lighter after sharing them, that’s positive.
- You don’t need to be taking medication to start therapy unless of course you specifically need it. That said, the two do not intrinsically need to go hand in hand. You know yourself best.
- You don’t need to become a mental health or therapy advocate for those around you who you may think may benefit from it now that you’re talking to someone. Care for yourself first. The rest will follow.
- It’s okay if you simply start off by verbalizing how you feel to those around you before seeking professional help as long as you remain aware that they’re not professionally trained in crisis situations.
- Along that train of thought, you can still talk to your significant other, friends and family once you’ve started seeing someone. Communicating how you’re feeling in all spheres of your life, if you feel comfortable doing so, can only be beneficial.
Not only on Bell Let’s Talk Day, not only on World Mental Health Day or during World Mental Illness Week does your mental health matter. It matters every single day. And so do you. It can be very daunting to reach out. But you can do it.
And if you’re Canadian and don’t know where to start, check out https://www.ccmhs-ccsms.ca/mental-health-resources-1 get in contact with professional counsellors.