Working in the Motion Picture Industry can feel like a dream come true. But just because you’re doing what you love doesn’t mean you can’t experience mental health difficulties. That’s why, every year in January, Calltime Mental Health works to share and amplify the message of the annual Bell Let’s Talk campaign, raising mental health awareness in Canada.
One in four (25%) Canadians aged 18 and older screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder – that means some of your colleagues, and maybe you yourself, are struggling right now. The stigma around mental health is still prevalent, and many people working in the film industry feel worried about telling their employer or colleagues that they’re struggling because they fear they’ll be judged and lose out on work. Let’s change this.
Putting on a brave face and hiding your feelings can make things worse. When you share how you’re feeling and that you’re struggling, you might be surprised at how many people have a similar experience. Long working hours, job insecurity, and the current cost of living crisis are contributing to people in the industry turning to drugs and alcohol to soothe their stress. Let’s change this – let’s turn to friends, colleagues, and family instead.
Start the Conversation
Talking openly about mental health and mental illness is the first step to reducing the stigma that prevents people from seeking help.
Helping to end the stigma around mental illness can help people seek the help they need and create positive change. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma of having a problem and asking for help. It is the number one reason why two-thirds of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.
Here are 5 simple ways to help end the stigma that keeps too many who struggle with mental illness from seeking the help they need:
Language matters: the words you use can make all the difference.
Educate yourself: knowing the facts and myths about mental illness can be a great way to help end the stigma.
Be kind: simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.
Listen and ask: being a good listener and asking how you can help can be the first step in recovery.
Talk about it: mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or colleague.
Most people with mental health issues can and do recover, just by talking about it.
Suicide: Let’s Change This
This year’s Bell Let’s Talk campaign challenges us to bring positive change to several mental health concerns. One of these is suicide. On average, there are 600 deaths by suicide each year in BC alone. Let’s change this. Many suicides can be prevented with greater awareness and openness about this topic. That’s why we’re busting some myths around suicide and sharing some advice on warning signs and how to talk about it.
Myths About Suicide
MYTH: Asking someone if they’re suicidal or talking about suicide encourages a suicide attempt
TRUTH: Asking someone whether they are suicidal gives the person a chance to talk it out and can reduce the intensity of difficult emotions. It can save a life. But the conversation should be managed carefully (find advice on how to have this conversation below)
MYTH: Only certain types of people become suicidal.
TRUTH: In Canada, approximately 4,500 people in Canada die by suicide . Anyone anywhere can be at risk of becoming suicidal. People who always seem happy and carefree can experience mental health difficulties and suicidal thoughts. Never disregard a person who expresses suicidal intentions – they are always serious.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Previous suicide attempt
Expressing suicidal thoughts and intentions
Giving away important or meaningful possessions, writing a will, or other arrangements that seem final
Very low mood
Withdrawal from friends and family
This is counter intuitive but very important: a sudden improvement in mood in someone who has been mentally unwell for a long time can indicate plans to end their life.
(Please note this list is not exhaustive and if you are worried about someone, you should speak to them – trust your intuition)
Advice on Having a Conversation About Suicide
Directly ask about suicidal intentions. It will not increase the risk of suicide.
Listen. You may feel overwhelmed by the information you’re hearing and unsure about how to respond or advise the person. You don’t need to say much – just listen with compassion.
Take it seriously.
Express how you feel about that person. Tell them you care about them and that they are important to you.
Advise them to seek professional help (see below for resources)
Follow up with the individual later. They are unlikely to bring it up with you again as they might feel like a burden or ashamed. But they will appreciate you checking up on them. Also follow up on whether they have received help.
If it bears heavily on your mind – talk to someone you trust or contact a helpline.
For more examples of other ways to start the conversation check out the Bell Lets Talk Conversation Guides and other tools that can be used to lead your own discussion about mental health or talk with someone you might be concerned about.
Educate yourself about mental health and mental illness. The Calltime Campaign have listed multiple resources of Suicide. These resources will all help us in increasing the awareness, education, and access to safe support that is available for those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Talk Suicide Canada – Call 1 833 456 4566
Crisis Services Canada – Call +1-833-456-4566 or Text 45645
For more help, visit the Bell Let’s Talk resources page: https://letstalk.bell.ca/tools-and-resources/mental-health-information-support/