CAPS Foundation Update – February 2020

January 29 was Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day devoted to raising awareness and combating the stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada.  It is also a subject that is very important to your CAPS Foundation.  For many of our CAPS members, it also happens to be a topic that is very close to home.  We reached out to several CAPS members for their experiences and insights with Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, and here is what we heard back.

Elizabeth Anderson, CAPS Calgary:

January 29 was Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day devoted to mental health, and the live event at Mount Royal University in Calgary was a day for peers to connect.  The live event was filled with inspirational speakers on emotional regulation, self-care and all the plenary speakers who had lived the experience were caregivers or were dedicated, professionals.  The self- care workshop and information on autism were interesting sessions to attend in the afternoon.  Our very own CAPS Calgary member Patricia Morgan spoke about autism

However, the biggest gift I took away from Bell Let’s Talk Day was the peers I met. All so brave and taking inspired action in their own way to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It makes the journey so much easier when you know I am not alone. We are all working towards a bigger goal which is to make the world a better place.

The growth of Bell’s Let’s Talk Day has made it possible for a Hope Movement to start. A chance for us all to get involved as people with lived experience, caregivers, or dedicated professionals.  Bell Let’s Talk Day has started the movement …. let’s continue the conversation by making it okay to disclose you have a mental illness and not be judged.

I dream of a world where people like me are celebrated for the gifts, skills and unique perspective we bring to the table.

Everybody needs someone to lean on  —  Roy Orbison

Everyone has low points in life.  Do you remember a time when you were low and just needed a friend to help you out of a dark place?  Peer support can be that friendly face.

Luckily, CAPS Peer Support is a program for professional speakers who have a challenge they need help to overcome. Support is provided by fellow speakers who are handpicked and trained to lend a listening ear, referral ideas for other resources and even financial help through the CAPS Foundation.

If you are struggling and need someone to lean on for a time, reach out to get help from a peer!

We are family and we are all in this together!

Jon Jon Rivero, CAPS Alberta:

Qi Creative is a mental health practice and we created a post on our blog about Bell let’s talk day.

Bell Let’s Talk Day: Bringing Mental Illness into the Light

It’s good to talk and it’s okay to not be okay.

This simple sentence holds true every day and is especially apt on Wednesday the 29th of January 2020, because it’s the 10th anniversary of Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Bell Let’s Talk is a campaign here in Canada that focuses on increasing awareness, education, and acceptance in the area of mental health. It is all about opening up honest conversations and discussions surrounding issues of mental illnesses across many media and social media platforms.

However, this campaign is not simply a ‘let’s talk about it’ kind of affair, although that is fantastic, Bell Let’s Talk raises money to provide support and services to those living with mental health challenges. These funds help create positive changes in many areas, especially within education and the workplace.

Let’s Talk: Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness

The Bell Let’s Talk movement centers around reducing the stigma surrounding mental health problems by talking openly about them. Although great progress has been made in this area since the campaign began in 2010, there remains much work to be done.

Read the rest:

Jason Finucan, CAPS Montreal shared his personal story on his blog:

How stigma cost me two and a half years of my life

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder in February of 2005. You might think that was a huge challenge, both personally and professionally – and you would be right. That said, the greatest (and most destructive) challenge I faced as a result of this diagnosis came during the preceding two and a half years.

That challenge came in the form of stigma and self-stigma, which is a particularly cruel aspect of stigma where you apply all of the judgement, negative assumptions and fear towards yourself.

In fact, with the power of perspective and hindsight, I would later realize that both forms of stigma had cost me two and a half years of my life, which in turn had a massive negative impact on my work, life and those around me.

It was 2002, and I was in the early stages of a professional fundraising career working for a world-renowned university when the symptoms of Bipolar 1 Disorder first surfaced. Of course, at the time I had no idea that what I was experiencing was the symptoms of mental illness, let alone Bipolar 1. All I knew is that I was experiencing months of reduced energy and mental acuity, followed by months of surplus energy combined with an inability to attend to details or complete projects.

These states, which I would later learn were mild clinical depression and mild hypomania, were present 24 hours a day for the entire time. I knew something was wrong, and even suspected a mental illness, but I didn’t seek medical attention and I completely refused the idea of any form of treatment.

Had my symptoms been migraines, or nausea, or dizziness, or any other of a long list of symptoms of better-understood illnesses, I would have acted entirely differently. I would have sought medical advice within a week or two and would have been open to treatment.

Read the rest: