Help end the stigma around mental illness.
It’s easier than you think!

It’s a fact, one in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma. It is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.

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 that keeps too many who struggle with mental illness from seeking the help they need.

5 ways you can help

Language
matters

The words you use can make all the difference. Words can help but they can also hurt. What would you choose?

Words to watch out for:

  • Schizo
  • Crazy
  • person with schizophrenia
  • person with a mental illness
Aidan

Educate
yourself

Stigma has been around for a long time and knowing the facts and myths about mental illness can be a great way to help end stigma. Read about facts and myths and become a stigma buster.

Aidan

Be
Kind

Simple kindness can make a world of difference. Whether it be a smile, being a good listener or an invitation for coffee and a chat, these simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.

Expressions like “You’ll get over it” and “Just relax” can minimize how a person is feeling. Instead offer your support and say “I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.” Ask what you can do to help.

Aidan

Listen
and ask

Mental illness is a very common form of human pain and suffering. Being a good listener and asking how you can help, sometimes just even being there for people you care about, can be the first step in recovery.

Here are a few examples of what to ask:

  • I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
  • I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down lately.
  • Is everything ok?
  • How can I help?
Aidan

Talk about it

Break the silence. Mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of people who have experienced mental health issues and who are doing well can really challenge stereotypes. Most people with mental health issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.

Aidan

Other
helpful tips

To help you be part of the conversation, the Bell Let’s Talk Conversation Guide was created. It provides information and resources on how you can facilitate a conversation in your community, as well as guidelines on how to have conversations with people you care about and may be concerned about.

Get the conversation guide

Where can you get help?

Information on this site is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or referral services. Individuals should contact their doctor and/or their local mental health or addiction agency for further information. If you are in crisis please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department

get help