BELL LET’S TALK DAY – Every Day is Mental Illness Awareness Day

Today is the day that Bell has marketed as #BELLLETSTALK day. Their reasoning is that an official day of mental health issue awareness would start the conversation…that would hopefully continue into all the other days of the year. Let’s Talk is all about awareness and peeling back the stigma that has traditionally surrounded those suffering mental illnesses.

These few simple truths, when believed-followed-lived, should set sufferers free and end bullying and shame and denial and hate and confusion and judgement.

1. There is no shame in having any of the dis-eases on the entire spectrum covered by the blanket catch-all term mental illness.

If you need a number 2, it’s that those who suffer from mental illness are people…just like everybody else. People who need people. People who love. People who feel. People who have lives and a desire to have fulfilling lives despite the obstacles real or perceived that stand in their way.

Talking is the best way to start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness. ~ Bell Let’s Talk

I tend to cover mental illness in much of my writing. One of the two main characters in my 3rd novel, THE REASONS, suffered a mental illness. It’s when it is not addressed, not spoken of, not dealt with, that chaos ensues. I did my best to show the turmoil of suffering mental illness while simultaneously suffering the consequences of shame and not speaking and not dealing in the character of Maggie Reason.

The opening lines of The Reasons, my third novel.
The opening lines of The Reasons, my third novel.

I will always talk of mental illness. I will always address mental illness. I will always shed light on mental illness. We live in a time where the suffering can be minimized. Because we live in a time where we can educate both those who suffer and those who do not suffer. Removing the stigma is more than half the battle. The stigma, over time, is one brick after another loaded on top of the sufferer. Imagine having bricks placed upon you, one after another, sometimes for years and years. The weight is excruciating. There comes a point when it is the bricks that are doing the damage. It’s a monster that feeds upon itself. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME. It begins to weigh more than the original mental illness. Just imagine removing those bricks. One at a time until the sufferer is free of the added weight of shame and stigma. Imagine being free to work only on the mental illness. I want to live in that world. I want that freedom for mental illness sufferers. I’m on board. Bell, Let’s Talk!

(Today, I also reviewed ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES on my book review blog at TRYTHISBOOKONFORSIZE. It’s a great YA read that deals with mental health issues.)

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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