Stigma and Solidarity - #BellLetsTalk

What’s wrong with him?
Why does she keep doing that?
She’s so anti-social!
Who would hang out with them?
He doesn’t contribute anything!
He’s weird!

Stigma. Judgement. Labels.

Social Stigma is a disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society. Stigma may attach to a person who differs from social or cultural norms.

When it comes to mental health, stigma abounds.

I don’t usually follow the dictates of my cellphone provider too closely (!!!), but today is Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative aimed to raise awareness and create discussion on mental health (along with a bunch of money - $4 Million last year). No one is removed from the influence of mental health, be it personal experiences or that of the people in our lives. Yet we maintain these social stigmas, despite how challenges of mental health affect all of us. Such stigma ends up pushing people away. Isolation, not solidarity, is the lot for many.

Movements such as Bell’s Let’s Talk bring an important topic to our social conscience. Absolutely, let’s talk about mental illness. But more important, let’s talk and build relationships with everyone around us. These movements are as much about mental health as they are about building solidarity. Hopefully days like this are only the beginning - awareness leading to connection, acceptance, and the knowledge that indeed we are all loved.


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