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Bell Let’s Talk – What Is It? Why Is It Important?

what is bell let's talk? Why is it important? #bellletstalk www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Bell Let’s Talk is an annual event and campaign that began in September, 2010, that Bell started to try to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and encourage people to talk about mental illness. For every use of their hashtag on specific social media platforms, making phone calls and texting, or other interactions, they will donate 5¢  to fund mental illness research and services in the country of Canada. Bell is the largest company to step in, speak out about mental illness and create a movement for the community.

In 2015, they increased their campaign to 2020, where they commit to donating up to 10 million dollars in regards to mental illness. On January 27, 2016, Bell donated over 6 million dollars based on the near 126 million long distance and mobile phone calls, texts, tweets and Facebook shares. Currently, Bell’s total donations stand at 79,919,178.55$ as of 2016.

Hopefully, this year, we can exponentially increase the funding, have open discussions about mental illness, and end the stigma.


How can you help this year?

All day, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every:
• Text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk
• View of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook
• Snap using the official Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter

(Join the event on Facebook: Bell Let’s Talk Day Event)


Why is this such a phenomenal movement?

Mental illness has always had a stigma cloud that followed it, where people aren’t entirely understanding or compassionate towards others because of their illnesses. It is often a topic for jokes and put downs, where the joke is at someone’s emotional expense. Though the stigma has reduced over the years, thanks to Bell Let’s Talk and other mental health movements, it isn’t gone. People with mental illness are still being degraded, disrespected, turned away by doctors, deemed unworthy of medical attention and completely ignored by the public.

When the conversation is closed, people bottle up their emotions and feel that their feelings are not valid. The further this happens, the more individuals isolate themselves and feel embarrassed to open up, the more suicides continue to happen. No one truly wants to die; they are hoping their pain will stop.

The majority of society acts as if mental illness isn’t a part of their everyday life, when 1 in 5 Canadians struggles with some form of mental illness. These people are in your life, in your schools, at your work, on the streets, in hospitals, in your home, in your family, in your social groups… They are your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your aunts, your uncles, your friends, your enemies, your acquaintances, strangers… They are everywhere, living normal lives, with not so normal symptoms. Mental illness is THAT common.

A large majority assumes that the mentally ill can only be categorized by schizophrenics, psychotics, and those with bipolar. Those conditions are very hard to live with, accompanied by delusions, voices and uncontrollable emotional levels (and should not be stigmatized), but are not the only ones. Mental illness is much more. It’s depression, anxiety, personality disorders, variations of eating disorders, variations of body-focused repetitive behaviours, and many other, rather uncommon categorizations. It is possible that you may have a mental illness without being aware of it. Mental illness does not make you “crazy” or “psycho”.

It’s time that we, as a society, open up the conversation for mental health, learn about the different conditions and how they affect people, and urge to reduce the stigma in our everyday lives.

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Understanding Self Harm; What Is It?

understanding self-harm; what is it?, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Self-harm is the act of self-mutilation, where an individual purposefully harms themselves in hopes to alleviate stress, emotional pain, trauma, depressive feelings or find control. A large number of self-harmers are approaching or are in adolescence; using these methods to cope with new emotions, mental illnesses and overwhelming situations, though many are adults or progress into adulthood with these maladaptive coping skills. Some self-harm for short periods of time or in crisis, whilst others may become fully addicted or may not know that they are self-harming because the method isn’t widely known.

Self-mutilation is not a suicide attempt; it is a maladaptive coping strategy to find control in out-of-control situations and can be replaced by healthy ones. The individual self-harming is struggling and needs professional help. They may use a combination of self-harming methods.


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Cutting. Cutting is the most well-known self-harming coping mechanism and has been widespread on the internet over the last few years. It is the most heard of the bunch.

Most adolescents turn to cutting to cope with dysfunctional families, bullying, trauma, schooling and overwhelming feelings, though adults do also partake in this method. The act of cutting releases endorphins to the brain to deal with the emotional and physical pain, giving the cutter a high. It’s an exciting rush, followed by a sense of relief from what’s bothering them.

Cutting is often assumed as suicidal behaviour when, in actuality, it’s a very common way people cope with issues. The blood and mutilation factor frightens caregivers who feel they may have to bring their child to the hospital for an attempt, which is not a necessity.

It is important that, if the cutter chooses to continue, they use clean materials and clean their wounds to avoid infection and STD transmittal (as it can be deadly). They must monitor themselves; if they cut too deep, they need to request medical attention, as an excessive loss of blood can kill them.

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Burning. Burning is frequently used in combination with cutting. The individual takes a hot object and holds it to their skin until it cools down and a wound is formed. Some may use hot baths or tap water instead, which may not leave a mark, but is as serious. These burn wounds may bubble up and “pop”, oozing a liquid; it is important for the person self-harming to monitor this wound and ensure bacteria doesn’t contaminate.

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Scratching/Pinching. Someone may choose to scratch at their skin until blood surfaces for a quick sense of relief. This could be an occasional thing, develop into dermatillomania or be dermatillomania.

Dermatillomania (Excoriation Disorder or Skin Picking Disorder) is when the individual has an incessant need to scratch and pick at “imperfections” resulting in worsened bumps, wounds, acne or infection. This disorder can be combated through therapy and extreme efforts, but is not always noticed by the one doing it.

There is a difference between choosing to do it, and having a disorder. Someone with dermatillomania will scratch or pick during anxious or tense situations, but may not notice, while someone who is picking occasionally is constantly doing it on purpose. It must be monitored as the occasional behaviour can evolve into a disorder as they grow unaware of their actions, and lean on picking to cope. It becomes second nature.

Wound Interference. This ties in with dermatillomania and skin picking. The individual repeatedly picks at scabs which result in either blood or scars.

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Hair Pulling. Hair pulling is because of a disorder called trichotillomania; a compulsive desire to pull out ones hair. The puller may notice bald patches from continuous pulling, self-esteem issues, and hair follicle changes (hairs growing in curly, thin or odd colours). Constantly pulling out one’s hair can increase anxiety, and affect their confidence, usually accompanied by depression. They may find flaws in specific hairs and feel that they do not belong, resulting in pulling it out.

Trich falls under the same umbrella as dermatillomania, (Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour/BFRB) and is not always intentional. With over exposure to pulling, they become dependent on it and may not notice themselves acting out, and can be so severe that they pull in their sleep.

Photo: © Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Oleari
pietro.naj-oleari@europarl.europa.eu

Drugs/Alcohol. Substance abuse starts off as using drugs and alcohol to cope. Someone may reach for a bottle when they are upset to “lose themselves”. With repetitive use, they will become heavily addicted and full-fledged alcoholics or drug addicts.

Their body will be tolerant of the substance and require higher doses for the same effect, develop a psychological and physical dependency where they may not be able to function without it as their body and mind experience withdrawal, and addiction. Addiction is the compulsive need for the substance and effort required to avoid or reduce usage.

Depending on the substance, risks include:

  • STDs from needles and injectors
  • Irregular heart rate or heart failure
  • Infertility
  • Lung damage
  • Memory loss
  • Periods of psychosis and disconnection from self
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Irritability, anxiety, jumpiness, sweating and shaking
  • Violence
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

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Hitting. Hitting involves violence towards oneself, where the individual hits and punches themselves for relief. This can result in bruises and painful areas.

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Disordered Eating Behaviours. Disordered eating is a common gateway to eating disorders. They feel they have lost control when it comes to food or their body, finding flaws in their figure or eating patterns. There are heavy influences in media and they could turn to Pro Anorexia Websites for tips on weight loss. Disordered eating can be controlled and restrictive (anorexia), strictly healthy foods only (othorexia), use of laxatives and vomiting after binging (bulimia), over eating (binge eating) and other, personalized methods.

This behaviour must be heavily monitored as a traumatic change in diet can remove years off their life, become extreme with no way back or fatal. They must seek out medical attention and learn not to use food to cope. The recovery process is not short and may take years; it’s best to catch and treat it early.


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“Suicide Attempts” (Testing the Grounds). These types of suicidal behaviours are parasuicidal, meaning it is suicidal in its nature, but suicide wasn’t the intent. This is very common with individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as they experience chronic suicidal feelings and use this to cope. They do not wish to die, but to control an out-of-control situation. Facing death but not dying can be satisfying to some.


Remember: Self-harm is used to gain control in out-of-control situations. It isn’t use to get back at or punish anybody.

Self-mutilation should be avoided, discouraged and discussed in therapy. Overcoming self-harm will take time, but can be done when trauma, pain and other factors are discussed, and healthier coping mechanisms are implemented. When an urge arises, they should consider journaling, going for a walk, drawing, calling a friend, etc. Constant denial to these urges will improve their quality of life, as they ween off of their need.

Relapse is inevitable, but self-mutilation can be conquered.

If you are a worried guardian or friend, do not demean them. It may not seem logical to you, but it is necessary you open the conversation, lend an ear once in a while, and tell them that it is acceptable to talk about self-harm. If you use it against them, they will lean on the behaviour more, and could hurt themselves further. Don’t overreact, don’t under react. Finding a balance can be complicated, but worth it. They are dealing with a serious problem and need your support.

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11 Ways to Maintain Employment with Mental Illness

11 ways to maintain employment with mental illness, www.slothspedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery, recovery

Balancing the world of employment with our never ending mental illness is a feat to conquer. Many of us have been fired or have had to quit because of our illness; whether we landed in hospital, had a suicide attempt, or just plain burned out. We have to apply techniques to keep our motors going and complete a hard days work.

It will never be easy, but it can be done when we apply these 10 simple techniques.


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Notes. Mental illness can take the better of us and sometimes, our memory goes with our health. To keep on top of our work, it is beneficial to take notes of all the important information or procedures you need to follow. On shift, bring the notebook with you to refer to it and take notes. Use colours, stickers, drawings or tabs; anything to have it appealing and stimulating for you.

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Honesty. Try to keep open communication with your employer. You don’t need to disclose your diagnosis or provide any information you aren’t comfortable with sharing, but you can state that you have medical issues with appointments. If you have scars and are comfortable with showing them, tell them in advance and proceed to wearing short sleeves. It will be important for your employer to be aware of your need for medical attention (whether you state mental or physical is your choice) and dates or appointments, as they can try to be understanding and accommodate accordingly.

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Allow Mistakes. We disservice ourselves by not allowing mistakes, and when we make them, we crash and burn. A mistake is not a portrayal of your character and it does not invalidate your capability as an employee or human being. You cannot beat yourself up over mistakes, because everybody makes them. They’re natural and are a part of the learning experience. Floors and counters can be cleaned, orders and items can be returned and people are understanding. Let them happen, and have fun with them.

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Consistent Therapy. Attending therapy consistently will help you regulate emotions and anxieties, especially around the job itself. It will be useful to have that third party available to brainstorm ways to improve your work environment and performance. Any troubles that may be weighing you down at work could also be alleviated through talking.

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Self-Care. It is important to put yourself first. Do you need a coffee or tea to calm down before work? Bring a mug. Are your feet sore? Take a warm bubble bath. Is your brain on overdrive? Watch a corny comedy. The smallest actions can keep you relaxed before work, and reward you after work. 

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Goals. Human beings are goal oriented creatures; we thrive on success. The smaller the goal, the quicker we achieve, the happier we will be. Set daily goals that are easy to achieve, like attaining hygiene, eating well, and arriving at work 10 minutes early. These goals, especially accomplished before a shift, can help the shift go smoother. It will boost confidence and production level.

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One Task At A Time. Mental illness can throw us in overdrive, hoping from one task to the next without thought. We forget our previous task and leave a mess for someone else to clean up. If you were working in a restaurant, for example, and you were cleaning tables as someone walked in; don’t drop the rag. Finish the task as it is a short one, tell the customer that you will be with them and possibly crack a joke to amuse them during the short wait. There are priorities in the workplace, but tasks that are short can come first. If you are doing inventory though, do not leave the customer waiting until you are done. Prioritize, and take it one step at a time.

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Work From Home. If the social aspect of the workplace is weighing you down, opt for working from home. There are many jobs available through online companies where do not need to interact with people face to face or through phone calls. You could try market research, customer service through emails or even freelance transcriptions.

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Self-Employment. Why not try to be your own boss and start up something new and exciting? Self-employment allows you to be in charge and open up a business for yourself, on your own terms. Photography, writing, art, business; the world is yours. The issue with self-employment is that it does take time and money before ever making a dollar; it is a slow process with no guarantees. It can start exciting, and end with you feeling drained and exhausted. The trick with self-employment is learning business, marketing, discipline and persistence. You will have to work another job until any income can be made.

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It’s Not The Be All, End All. Don’t depend your life success on this one job. It is likely that this will not be your last job, and that if you do get fired or need to quit, it wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t the job or career choice for you. If you lose employment, try to get back up and start looking again. You are capable, you are valid for employment and you have value to a company out there.

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Recovery. The best way to maintain employment is to commit to recovery. Recovery will build up your confidence, help break bad coping habits and teach you self-understanding. It is an all around the clock job itself, but will be rewarding if you commit to it. You will inevitably see improvement in your workplace, yourself and your happiness.


Ultimately, your highest levels of success will come from doing a job you love, but if that isn’t an option, you have to stay persistent and take care of yourself.

Someone with mental illness can be successful in the workplace. You have to believe in yourself, build your confidence and focus on maintenance. Be the best that you can be.