Today, January 25, people across Canada are participating in Bell’s “Let’s Talk” campaign to raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental illness. This campaign has garnered nationwide attention and has helped shed light on the realities of mental illness; which a total of 20 million Canadians will personally experience in their lifetime, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
For those of you who are inspired to do more to break the stigma while lending a helping hand, here are many local organizations seeking volunteers and donations.
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
The Douglas Institute offers a wide range of treatment and services. Treating eating disorders, mood disorders, psychological disorders, and more, patients will first need a referral from their family doctor. All care at the Douglas institute is covered under the Quebec health insurance plan. The institute has received many awards and distinctions and is a great opportunity for those looking to volunteer. More information on volunteering can be found here.
Friends For Mental Health
Offering bilingual services primarily on the West Island, Friends for Mental Health, a non-profit, guides families learning to live with mental illness. Friends For Mental Health provides referrals, they listen and counsel, and they offer self-help all while raising awareness. Volunteers are always needed in a variety of capacities; if you are interested, more information can be found here. Those looking to donate can click here; upon donation, a tax receipt will be issued.
Action on Mental Illness (or AMI) Quebec give support to those battling mental health issues along with their family members. AMIQuebec’s website presents a wealth of information and support. Their offices are well stocked with a library, support groups, including teleworkshops, and webinars which are recorded in case you miss one. Further information about support groups, including schedules can be found here. For more information on how you can help, by donating, volunteering, or even to ask some questions, click here.
These are just a few of the many resources to help those of us struggling to remain mentally healthy. If you need support in any way, remember these organizations, and many others (click here for an in-depth list) are ready to help and educate.
Always remember that you are not alone in this, nor are you defined by your mental illness. Having a mental illness is a fact of life for many, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. If you need help, it is imperative that you get the help you deserve.
If you are able to volunteer or donate, know that your time and/or money will be greatly increasing the quality of life of others. And don’t forget, using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk is a good first step (Bell donates 5¢ for every use of the hashtag on all social media platforms). Together, we can end the stigma surrounding mental illness and get those in need the help they deserve.