5 simple ways to end stigma and start a conversation
Stigma can often prevent those struggling with a mental illness from seeking the help they need. Developed in partnership with Dr. Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair at Queen's University, here are 5 simple ways to help end the stigma and initiate a conversation.
Your words matter
The words you use can make all the difference. Words can help but they can also hurt. What would you choose?
- person with schizophrenia
- person with a mental illness
Did you know?
When it comes to mental illness, education is key. Having the right tools, knowing the right words to use and understanding how to correctly speak with someone experiencing a mental illness can make all the difference. View the Bell Let’s Talk Toolkit
Kindness is key
Simple kindness can make a world of a difference. Whether it be a smile, being a good listener or an invitation for a chat over coffee, these simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you’re there for them.
Expressions like “You’ll get over it” and “Just relax” can hurt more than help. Instead, offer your support and say “I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well” or better yet, ask what you can do to help.
Sometimes it’s best just to listen
Mental illness is a very common form of human pain and suffering. Being a good listener and asking how you can help, or simply just being there for people you care about, can be the first step to recovery.
Here are a few examples of what to ask:
- I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
- I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. Is everything ok?
- How can I help?
Break the silence
Two out of three people suffer in silence, fearing judgement and rejection. Starting a conversation is the first step towards eliminating stigma.
Know the facts, be kind, be a good listener and friend. Be part of the conversation to eliminate stigma once and for all.