The Bell Let’s Talk campaign raises awareness and works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in Canada. Recognizing, accepting, and embracing mental health needs to stay in the forefront of our work. It is not unusual for a woman to react or experience depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing violence or abuse. Too often I hear others describe survivors as “dramatic” or “she is over-reacting” – comments like these are far from reality.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Report on Violence Against Women, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, suggests “for many women mental health concerns develop in response to the violence and feelings that arise from those experiences.” Though there seems to be a strong connection between violence preceding mental health – these connections are often lost between support systems. Mental health supports, addiction supports and violence against women supports tend work in silos and are ill-equipped to fully support women across all systems. More work needs to be done in each system so services are delivered with a “no wrong door” approach. Only when survivors are fully supported across the continuum of services will we have a system that can truly evoke change.
Recognizing and challenging the stigma surrounding mental health is ONE critical step towards acceptance and healing. Take the time to learn the facts.
Become a Steel City Ally and take your #firststepfirstchange to end gender-based violence.