Time to break the silence

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Shelley Lodge is a brave woman to publicly say she has been dealing with depression and anxiety for about a decade now.

On Wednesday, during the Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador Stephenville office opening on Wednesday afternoon, she talked about how that organization has helped her for the past year.

It certainly wasn’t an easy thing for her to do considering there is still a lot of stigma attached to people who are suffering with mental health issues.

Hopefully, that’s changing and it’s because of people like Lodge and Bonnie Rotchford, regional peer supporter with the Consumers Health Awareness Network in Stephenville, the cycle of stigmatizing people with such ailments is being broken.

The good thing is that an organization such as the network can bring together people with similar illnesses who can actually help each other through discussions of what they are experiencing. It’s about building a self-help network involving people living with mental health issues and increasing their participation in reform.

The Stephenville office offers several programs for people who want to attend, which is great.

There is also a provincial network that offers programs online, so anyone with a computer can participate and in today’s world that is important, especially for those who want to remain anonymous can do so.

While that is great, there is also a lot to be said for those people, like Lodge and Rotchford who made their illness public. With one in five Canadians affected by some type of mental illness during some time in their life, there are very few people, if any, who haven’t felt the impact of it.

The sad part is that two in three people live in silence fearing judgment and rejection.

It’s a subject that should be talked about all year long and not swept under the rug after a fundraiser passes. Keep talking about depression and mental illness to help stop making it so scary and dark for those suffering.

Organizations: Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador Stephenville

Geographic location: Stephenville

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