Hey McGill: Let's Talk, But Not Just for Today

Content warning: suicide, depression

Today (January 25th, 2017) is Bell's annual Let's Talk Day: so go on and call, text (REMEMBER TO TURN OFF IMESSAGE), and use any social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, and Bell will donate $0.05 to mental health initiatives each time you do.

Since the initiative started in 2010, Bell has donated close to $80 million to mental health programs and have trained over 4265 volunteers and staff to be better equipped in dealing with mental health issues. Here's a fact from the Bell's Let's Talk website: One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime, yet two thirds of them do not seek help. And according to a survey done in 2016 on post-secondary student health in Canada, anxiety and depression are at an all-time high, with 13.0% of students that completed the survey reporting that they seriously considered suicide within the last 12 months.

So, what do we do?

Well, Bell's initiative is a great way to get the conversation going about the stigma of mental health: there needs to be less of it.

Mental illness is a serious issue, and we, as the upcoming generation, need to get to a place where mental and physical health are considered to be equally important. Think about it, if we get up in the morning with a sore throat or a cough, we know exactly what we need to do to get better as soon as possible; we give ourselves a break if we're not at our 100% that day because we're sick. But this kind of self care doesn't come as naturally when it comes to mental health. We bury our problems and pretend they don't exist, thinking that they'll go away on their own. But they won't. And we need to learn that it's not a sign of weakness to seek help.

McGill has many resources to help students deal with mental health issues. Located on the fifth floor of the Brown building, McGill Mental Health Service provides a range of services from individual therapy to light therapy lamps. You can find out more information on the McGill Mental Health Hub website. If you just need someone to talk to, Vent Over Tea is a confidential program started by McGill Psychology graduates, which allows you to meet with a compassionate listener if you need to rant. McGill Nightline is also a great resource for late into the night. It's important to note that neither of the latter two services is a substitute for professional counselling, though.

Mcgill's varsity athletes, among student athletes across the country, have teamed up with Bell this year and have released a video to create awareness for the initiative. As well, you'll also notice many student athletes sporting the Bell Let's Talk blue toque around campus. #OneTeamForMentalHealth

But the most important thing to remember is that this day of mental health awareness needs to last longer than a day. When the clock strikes 12 and January 25th has officially ended, we need to make sure that the conversation doesn't end. Let's talk, and let's keep talking for the rest of the year, not just for one day. 


Image obtained from Bell Website

Video obtained from McGill Athletics and Recreation Facebook Page