So Apparently It’s Bell Lets Talk Day

So apparently today is Bell Let’s Talk day. I’ve seen a lot less about it this year than years previously, likely because we know that the ‘Movement’ behind it is… well rather problematic on a number of fronts. The most significant of these is arguably the number of Bell employees who have come forward in the last few years with concerns that Bell is making this campaign part of their corporate branding, without actually taking care of the mental health of their own folks.

This of course has led to others coming forward after their own organizations put out messaging on Bell Let’s Talk Day, criticizing them for placing more emphasis on how they look to people outside the organization than actually doing the work to look after their own people.

First responder organizations have not been excluded from these criticisms, and we all know there is lots of work yet to be done. I consider myself lucky to work for an agency that is, in my opinion, ahead of the game regarding member mental health, and I consider myself even more lucky to be part of a number of those initiatives to support our folks.

But there is still an incredible amount of stigma behind asking for help, or even admitting that we are accessing supports such as a psychologist to keep ourselves healthy before we actually become injured. As someone who has long advocated for member mental health, I have to admit that it took me getting to an incredibly dark place before I took my own advice and asked for help, help I was fortunate enough to get as I work for an agency that provided it to receive. Help that I would not have been able to afford to access on my own, a barrier that prevents so many others from doing the same, even if they want to.

So today, I want to make this post as a message of support to all of you out there who may be struggling. I say it a lot, but no one calls us when they’re having a good day, and those bad days can start to weigh on us. Know that regardless of what messaging we hear through formal campaigns, you matter, and asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do.

If you’re unsure where to start, or afraid to access support through your organization, consider giving our friends at Boots on the Ground Alberta a call for confidential peer support. If you’re looking for additional tools, consider applying for one of our trips to connect with other first responders in the beauty of Alberta’s David Thompson Country. I can confirm, every day stressors look a little smaller when you’re with friends in one of the most breathtaking places on earth. And more than everything, remember that more people care about you than you will ever know, and I’m proud of you for continuing to look after yourselves, as well as those around you. At the end of it all, you may come to realize that the mountain you are carrying, you were only meant to climb.