My name is Stella Ducklow. I am a photographer, an art geek, and an activist. I am also a mental health advocate; I have been doing public speaking about living with the symptoms and stigma related to my mental health diagnosis for the past eight years.
When you do first voice speaking about mental illness there is a certain story arc you are expected to follow. This is not a spoken agreement, but a silent expectation that has been reinforced by a worn out dialogue deeming people like me ‘brave’ and ‘inspiring’ for simply trying to speak our truth. The story arc goes something like this:
“I was normal and everything was fine. Then I got sick and everything was terrible.” Then comes the uplifting part which usually includes intervention, revelation, and a magical return to sanity. People like happy endings, therefore the story is expected to end with a complete recovery, and some sort of sentiment like “I’m stronger than I was before I went crazy.”
We decided to launch our new social media section today to correspond with Bell Let’s Talk Day because #MindVine is similarly all about igniting conversations about mental health and eliminating the stigma associated with it.
We have big plans for this space. #MindVine is the social media home of Ontario Shores, a specialty mental health hospital in Whitby, and will connect visitors with our social media platforms and serve as Ontario Shores’ home to blogs and events.
#MindVine will also include news and information related to mental health care.
When a discussion about mental health and mental illness arises, there are several key themes which inevitably come to the surface.
A popular reoccurring one in this discussion is the stigma associated with mental illness.
It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t dare talk about it. If we were struggling with our mental health we kept quiet instead of exposing ourselves to the risk of being the subject of neighbourhood gossip and shame.