Winning at Mental Health – #SmashtheStigma

Updated: Aug 30

The Calltime Mental Health Campaign was created to help all of us in the Motion Picture Industry become comfortable talking about and dealing with our mental health.

It’s amazing that we think nothing of talking about and fixing a broken arm or addressing a physical health issue; and yet, in 2021, we still struggle to mention how depressed we feel, how our anxiety has taken over our brain, or how worried we are about a family member struggling to live each day. We wonder how we’ll cope with our intense work schedules, and the added anxieties and stresses we’re facing due to COVID protocols and risks on set.

Every year at this time, the Bell Let’s Talk campaign (https://letstalk.bell.ca/) does amazing work raising mental health awareness in Canada. We too want to join the effort to #SmashtheStigma and champion a movement that creates safety and support for everyone who experiences mental health issues at work and at home.


Did you know that:

● 1 in 5 people in Canada experience a mental illness including addiction

● 17% of all British Columbians (or about 800,000 people) are currently experiencing mental health issues and addictions (https://cmha.bc.ca/impact/facts-and-figures/), and 84,000 children in B.C. have a diagnosed mental disorder

● Half a million Canadians miss work each week because of their mental health

● Mental health is the leading cause of disability claims in Canada

● By 2041, the cost of mental illness in Canada will be $2.5 trillion.

● 57.72% of us said we spend 11 to 15 hours on a production daily and

● 46.66% of us said we spend more than 60 hours a week at work.


Why is it so hard to talk about mental health?
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It is easy to feel that others won’t understand what it is like to struggle, emotionally and mentally. Our fears of being seen as “weird”, or being judged or left out, is real. There’s nothing worse than being told to “get over it” when we struggle to get out of bed in the morning. We don’t want to be treated differently or to be a burden others, and we don’t want to lose our job, or to feel embarrassed and ashamed for not feeling well and in control.

More and more artists are speaking out about their own mental health struggles. Mathew Perry struggled with addiction for 30 years. Howie Mandel struggles with OCD and ADHD, as does his son. Ryan Reynolds found himself battling anxiety after Deadpool. Jim Carrey fought depression. Pop musician Shawn Mendes was stunned when anxiety hit him hard and wrote about it in his song ‘In My Blood’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36tggrpRoTI . As well, several members of our own BC unions stepped forward and shared their experiences in the Calltime PSA video below.


Mental health doesn’t discriminate. None of us are immune to experiencing addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, or mental illnesses at some point in our lives.


It takes courage to reach out and talk about our mental health and well-being. Do you know how to #smashthestigma when someone reaches out and tells you that they are struggling?


Here’s how to start:

● Thank them for telling you

● Reassure them you’ll do what you can to support them

● Ask questions about how they are feeling and what has helped them in the past – don’t tell them what they need or how to feel

● Ask if they know what helps to feel safe and better

● Ask if you can help and if there’s anyone you need to call

● Let them know that no matter what, it’s ok to feel whatever they are feeling

● Ask if have accessed help and, if not, provide the number or offer to call their EAP/MAP with them

● Reassure them that you’ll respect their privacy (unless they are at risk for harming themselves or someone else)

● If appropriate, ask if they’d like some help letting their boss or supervisor know about how they’re feeling today and what they need


As each of us practices understanding and compassion like this with each other, we’ll be helping to #SmashtheStigma. Reach out, get support, stand up for your mental health!

For more resources, be sure to check out the Learning Centre here on the Calltime website for more on how to help others as a peer or as a leader.


Visit the Looking for Help Page to find the contact number for your union’s Employee/Member Assistance Program.


Visit the Bell Let’s Talk website for great information and resources https://letstalk.bell.ca/

And if you’re ready to show your support for the Calltime Mental Health Campaign and that you’re willing to talk about mental health, then wear a Calltime Mental Health wristband available through your union rep or office.