Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, Chief of Military Personnel on Bell Let’s Talk

Video / January 27, 2016

Transcript

Wednesday, January 27 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. This initiative reminds all of us why it so important to open the discussion about mental health: together we can raise awareness about mental illness and reduce the stigma surrounding it.

On January 27, for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image, Bell will donate five cents to support mental health initiatives across Canada. I know I’ll be tweeting – will you?

We ask for so much of our people, both Canadian Armed Forces members and National Defence employees. We must also be prepared to support them in times of need. We need to promote a culture where taking care of each other is a priority. If you are a leader within the Defence Team, you have one of the most important roles in promoting mental health among your employees. Encourage them to seek help, and ensure that resources are available to those who need it.

Stigma is simply defined as a prejudice which may lead to the mistreatment of others. It creates a barrier for people thinking of coming forward to seek help or support, whether it be for fear of reprisal or ridicule from others. We’ve come a long way in addressing stigma within the CAF, but we have a long way to go.

We can also tackle this issue on a more personal level. Reducing stigma within ourselves is easy. Educate yourself - make yourself aware of the signs of mental illness. Talk to each other. Be kind to each other. I know how much change we can effect if we put our minds to it. I’m optimistic that together we can make a change, and you have reason to be too.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, reach out now. Your friends, family, and colleagues are there to listen and help. See your doctor, talk to your supervisor, call the member assistance programs or go to your local emergency room. You are not alone.

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