#BellLetsTalk: An Anti-Mental Illness Movement

When I first created this blog, it started off just as the title suggested “Psychology and Life” (The “Inspiration” part was added in later). I was honestly curious about how people felt and why people felt that way. What goes on in the human brain that sends all these messages that we know as emotions? Now, of course, that would be going into the matter scientifically. However, today I’m just going to talk about this as a non-technical issue (it’s not like I’m good with science anyway).

First off, what is this Bell Let’s Talk movement? It is a movement that was started back on January 28th, 2010 by a Canadian Internet company named Bell. Every year on that day, Bell enforces the movement in an effort to help raise awareness on mental diseases and fight them. The company raises five cents for each person who calls, tweets, shares a status on Facebook, or texts about it. Some people have even gone out of their way on Twitter and not only helped Bell in garnering retweets, meaning more donations; after a certain number of RT’s, they would themselves donate their entire paychecks to a certain charitable organization to help raise awareness.

Not everyone’s asked this, but there are people who wonder why we even need this. Why can’t people just share their kindness every day? Heck, why do we even need donations? Why take to social media and spread the word? To this day, no one will really ever know why there are such heartless people out there who could care less. The only explanation I would actually have for that is something I learned in my Philosophy class last semester: that nature has to have a balance of the good and evil (or in some cases, just bad). The other reason is that it’s just not scrutinized and talked about enough.

Do you remember when you were a teenager, constantly complaining about how everything in life was so unfair? Maybe you had lost a family member or best friend who meant so much to you? We’ve all been through hard ships in life. There’s no doubt about it, but when people start holding it in — like, say someone’s father passed away and he meant the world to the them — that’s when it gets bad. Now, losing an important family member is tough. I lost my grandma early last year due to lung cancer, and she’d been fighting it for a little over a year. Getting back to the example, though, that someone — who’s in their late teens — has work and goes to high school the following day, but they have no motivation whatsoever to go or do anything. In the mean time, they don’t speak up. They’re been constantly harassed by other students who don’t like them (which would be bullying, by the way). They try their best to look perfectly okay, but their friends notice anyway and try to get them to talk about it. That person brushes their friends away insisting it’s nothing, probably because they think their peers have no idea what it’s like to be in their shoes or they’re just scared and too emotionally traumatized to speak up. One of the things that people dealing with PTSD, depression, and/or other mental diseases should know is that they’re not alone. You can get help, but you have to speak up. The situation isn’t going to be resolved on its own and you know it. By the way, when we say that we’re not trying to be mean. We’re here to support you. All your friends and everyone who cares about you will support you but only if you tell us what’s up, because we won’t know what’s going if you don’t.

Everyone has their story, and again they should know they are not alone. That’s why being vocal is so important. You can’t hide these feelings and let them torture you for the rest of your life. You’d be giving yourself a death sentence if you did because sooner or later that wall you put up in your mind trying to block out all the pain will crumble, and every bit of possible hope and confidence you had left will be washed away by the flood of tears. It’s just all bad. We don’t like seeing that. I certainly don’t. As much as it’s normal to cry, don’t beat yourself up with negative thoughts.

Speaking of negative thoughts… I’m a philosophical person. In philosophy, we have a common question we ask ourselves and one another: when you look at a cup of water, do you look at it as being half-full or half-empty? Reading that question, you might be asking yourself “what do you mean?” In a nut shell, it’s a way of determining your mindset, your self-confidence, and how you perceive the world around you. Seeing it half-full means you’re filled with optimism. You have confidence that things can and will only get better along the way. Seeing it half-empty means you’re really pessimistic. You feel like you can’t do anything right. You’re emotionally tattered. You have a very cynical and depressing view of society, and you wish it all would just end now, including your life.  It is important to remain optimistic. Although I do disagree with my mother at times and dislike her personality, I have to say I have learned some valuable lessons from her. I’ve also learned the same or a similar lesson from my friends, teachers, and pop culture. No matter how bad the struggle may be, there’s still hope. You have to remain positive about your situation. Don’t be scared. You can gain confidence from seeing everything in a positive light. Of course, do take precautions as to whom you talk to and take advice from. Overall, though, you should have a circle of trust worthy friends. Or even if you have at least that one or two best friends you can talk to, that’ll help as well.

That’s what all this talk about the Bell Let’s Talk movement is about; not being afraid to speak out and raising awareness about these mental diseases. For those of you reading this column and have a Twitter or Facebook, please seize this opportunity the next time around. It’s an absolutely outstanding cause. Yesterday the world contributed $5,472,585 to the Bell Cause. All-in-all, though, don’t just contribute monetarily. Do your part in society and make things right. Every year, people suffer from mental illnesses, contemplate and attempt suicide, some even succeeding. Help reverse this trend. Support those in need. One person can’t do it alone, but together we can.

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