FROM OUR BLOG
This all-night challenge, called Darkness to Light, aims to raise awareness about mental illness and eliminate the stigma that surrounds it. Any amount helps. Your support will help people recover faster, overcome their fear of seeking treatment, and inspire hope. You likely know someone who needs these services, whether or not you know it. 1 in 5 Canadians are affected by mental illness, but the stigma around it means that 2 out of 3 people suffer in silence because they’re afraid of rejection or judgement.
You’re also welcome to join us at our store location on May 29th, between 10 pm and sunrise. If you decide to stay all night and watch the world move from darkness to light with us, make sure you sign up or join our team online and have friends and family sponsor you! Alternatively, feel free to stop by for an hour or so just to show your support. Did you know that both sleep deprivation and coffee have short-term positive effects on symptoms of depression? We will be providing brewed coffee throughout the night, as well as snacks and entertainment in an attempt to keep ourselves awake. During the week of the event, any customer who comes to our store and mentions “darkness to light” will get a complimentary 10 ounce espresso drink.
Mental illness is something that affects everyone, whether it’s directly, indirectly, or both. Even people like Mel Gibson (bipolar I disorder), Brooke Shields (postpartum depression), and Emma Thompson (clinical depression) suffer from mental illnesses. Unfortunately some, like Robin Williams, lose the battle. Mental health awareness is important because it can alleviate stigma, encourage those in need to reach out for help, and make people with mental illnesses feel less alone in the world. Raising funds and educating ourselves and others about mental illnesses are two great ways to increase mental health awareness.
One of the major culprits of stigma (in general and in terms of mental health) is the media. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) explains how the media stereotypes people with mental illnesses and how this negatively affects them in real life. People with mental illnesses may find it hard to get a job, health insurance, or even proper housing. This treatment often lowers their self-esteem and makes it hard to maintain healthy social relationships. What can we do about this? CMHA suggests using the S.T.O.P. criteria to see if the media you consume supports the stigma around mental health conditions.
Does what you’re watching, hearing, or reading:
Stereotype people with mental illnesses (assume they’re all alike instead of individuals)?
Trivialize mental illnesses or people who have them?
Offend people with mental illnesses?
Patronize people with mental illnesses by implying they’re not as good as other people?
If so, contact the producers of the media and help them understand why these messages can be harmful. As always, it’s important to start with yourself. Even if you don’t think anyone around you has a mental health condition, choose your words carefully and appropriately. Refrain from saying or writing things like “You’re so OCD,” or “I feel depressed today” if you or the person you’re talking about don’t have these conditions. Learn more here.