An Initiative To Talk About

Unless you are so technology-averse that you get this news update printed off and mailed to you on a weekly basis, I don’t think that you can say that you did not know that the “Bell Let’s Talk Day” took place yesterday. It was a big topic of conversation on TV, radio and the Internet and with some celebrity help, over 125 million calls, texts, tweets and shares were logged during the day.

I know that my experience with mental health is similar to many. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I either did not know anything about mental illness and/or it was not discussed. Even when I did become more aware of mental health issues, my own opinions and experiences meant that I was approaching the issues with pre-conceived notions about the person and the issue. The End the Stigma initiative is an excellent resource on how you can take five easy steps to being more aware of what you can do (and more importantly, what NOT to do).

While I am sure that many of those 125 million messages fall under the umbrella of “clicktivism”, this past week I have read the stories on my Facebook news feed who made the “Let’s Talk” decision. These brave, heartfelt and extensive stories are from relatives, friends, people from my church, former students and colleagues; they are not just a simple “re-tweet” or “share”. Some of the stories are auto-biographical and some are from the perspective of a parent, sibling or friend but the important thing is that they are talking and creating a dialogue and not a debate. I know I only saw a small percentage of the stories told by staff, students and parents so congratulations to all those who participated in this initiative.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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