Rabbi Allan’s Message – Friday, January 27
This past Wednesday, our calendar turned to an annual event in Canada that really matters – Bell Let’s Talk day. It’s odd that it comes out of the corporate world, but frankly, I don’t care where it came from or who started it. It is brilliant, timely, and has done so much to change our views as Canadians about the prevalence of mental issues in our communities, within our own families and homes, and ourselves.
Let’s Talk Day started a dozen years ago, and over the years, it has featured high-profile Canadians, especially well-known athletes from a variety of sports, talking about their own personal mental health issues. Their messages show up in advertisements across all sorts of media platforms, and mental health hotlines are aggressively promoted at the bottoms of the screens.
Their courage to speak out, to show their vulnerability despite their star status, has helped “normalize” mental health issues in our country. All those high-profile Canadians theoretically have images to maintain and sponsorship deals to honour, but not one of them has been adversely affected by their participation. In fact, the opposite has occurred; they are widely respected.
They are great role models for the rest of us. We aren’t alone. Mental health issues, just like physical health issues, are real and they are everywhere, and they are of equal importance and equally deserving of care.
In fact, our traditional Jewish prayer for healing asks for a “complete” healing which includes a healing of the body and a healing of the spirit. The key for both is that the answers lie outside of us: We acknowledge that we have a problem and say the words out loud so that we can access the help that we need, whether for physical or spiritual healing. So, let’s talk. And let us create safe space and listen carefully when others find the courage to talk.