Asking someone ‘are you OK?’ isn’t exactly the same as asking ‘how’s it going?’ The more we’re willing to ask about mental health, the more answers we’ll get.
Today, the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day initiative is continuing its efforts of trying to spark conversations about mental health through a generous charitable commitment.
Bell Let’s Talk Day has raised nearly $100 million for Canadian mental health programs since 2011. It’s tallied close to one billion ‘interactions,’ mostly over social media, by making it easy for people, with a ‘like’ or a ‘share,’ to essentially make a pledge that day that they’re willing to talk or listen.
Any of us can help, if we’re willing to identify when an opportunity is presenting itself. Talking and listening will almost never be the whole solution, but it will almost always be better than the alternative of not talking and not listening. We won’t know that we can’t help if we don’t know what’s being asked of us. None of us are in the exact same head space and maintaining our mental health means something a little different to each of us. If we’re doing OK, maybe we’re in a place where we can help someone else, sometimes just by being there.
Let’s educate ourselves about mental health and mental illness and the facts and the myths. Let’s be aware of the resources that are available. Let’s avoid language that could hurt people who are vulnerable. Let’s be kind. Let’s talk.
No, ‘are you OK?’ is not the same as ‘how’s it going?’ Everyone asks rhetorical questions sometimes. But if we want an answer, if we want to help, if we care about mental health, then we may have to ask harder questions to learn truer answers.
For more on Bell Let’s Talk, click here.