January 25th is #BellLetsTalk day.
While you may never experience mental illness yourself, you likely know someone who will. Creating a culture where we can openly discuss mental health is important, as statistics show one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, two thirds of those living with mental illness will not seek help. Today we’re taking the opportunity to discuss mental illness; what it is, and where you can turn for education, resources, and practical help in the Ottawa area.
What Does Mental Illness Look Like?
A person may have a mental illness if they are experiencing changes in their thinking, mood or behaviour. These changes causes distress and disrupt the person's ability to carry on with tasks of daily living. Unfortunately, mental illness can be hard to spot. It is not as readily visible as a physical ailment, although the level suffering can be just as great.
Many People Suffer in Silence
Isolation can be a complicating factor, as stigma and fear of discrimination pose barriers those to seeking help. Stigma is negative stereotypes and discrimination is unfair treatment, often based on misperceptions about those with mental illness and their capabilities. You can help remove barriers for others by reducing stigma around mental illness by keeping informed!
Where You Can Find More Information
If you're looking to arm yourself with some sound knowledge about the basics of mental health, there are a wealth of resources available online. Here are some of our favourites.
• Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): CAMH is a world leader in research and delivery of care for those with mental illness. Their website is very comprehensive and contains everything from educational tools to information on specialized programs.
• BellLetsTalk: This site has many practical resources for individuals and families. From videos and information sheets on specific mental illnesses to general tips on engaging in difficult conversations with loved ones.
Where You Can Turn To For Help in the Ottawa Region
The City of Ottawa website offers a wide variety of mental and emotional health resources that can be accessed by residents. The coverage ranges from discussions around addictions and gambling to suicide and bullying. You will find a great mix of educational materials and tangible community resources. Access the site by clicking here.
If you need someone to talk to, day or night, in Ottawa, call the Distress Centre:
City of Ottawa - 613-238-3311 City of Gatineau - 613-238-3311 MRC La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau - 1-866-676-1080 MRC Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais - 1-866-676-1080 MRC Papineau - 1-866-676-1080 MRC Pontiac - 1-866-676-1080