My community has prejudices about mental health, how can I talk about it?


My community has prejudices about mental health, how can I talk about it?

Approved by Shirlette Wint, therapist and social worker

Perhaps you’ve had dark ideas, disturbed sleep, self-doubt or a lack of motivation for some time now. But maybe you hesitate to talk about it with your family because it’s frowned upon in your community.

Unfortunately, some groups are still prejudiced when it comes to mental health. There are many reasons for this, but it’s most often related to cultural customs, religion, ignorance or fear of others’ opinions. However, going through difficult times in your life is perfectly normal and can affect many people.

So how can you start the discussion and get help? Here are some suggestions. 👇


How can you tell if you’re having mental health problems?

To find out whether you’re having mental health problems, set aside a few minutes to take this short test:

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Also ask yourself if your loved ones’ behaviour toward you has changed or if you tend to argue with them more: this can be a good indicator of whether or not you’re doing well.

If, when you answer these questions, you realize that you’re experiencing some mental health issues, you may feel a little lost, afraid or lonely, especially if your family isn’t open to these issues. But know that having ups and downs is a part of life and there are solutions to help you.

To learn more about mental health, click here

Why is it important to get help when you’re not doing well?

It’s important to find help when you’re not feeling well because the longer you wait, the more serious the problems become and the longer they may take to treat. It can be tempting to hide how you feel, tell yourself that it will go away on its own and isolate yourself, but you’re likely to waste time when there are lots of ways to get through the situation.

Also, don’t forget that certain physical illnesses can have the same symptoms as some mental health issues. Therefore, it’s important to see a health professional to understand what’s happening.

How can you talk about your mental condition when your family possesses certain prejudices?

You might be afraid of admitting or putting a name to what’s happening to you because you don’t understand it, which frightens you. You might also be afraid of disappointing your loved ones or being rejected by them because you think they might be prejudiced. But remember that going through a hard time and needing help from others happens to everyone, and you can make it through.

So, take a deep breath and check out these solutions to get help:

  • Contact a free, anonymous hotline like Tel-jeunes or Kids Help Phone to speak with a worker who will help you explain your situation to your loved ones.

You can find their numbers 👉here.

  • Confide in an adult you trust who can talk to your parents about your problems. This could be an aunt, uncle, teacher, educator, school psychologist or nurse, etc.
  • Ask to see your family doctor and tell them about what’s happening. Your doctor can tell your family about the diagnosis and help you find the right treatment.

What can you do if your family remains closed-minded despite your attempts to talk about your mental health problems?

👉If you’re under the age of 14, you can talk with your school psychologist or an adult you trust so they can help you. Know that if what you’re experiencing is a danger to your mental or physical health, the people you have spoken to are required to report the situation to the Director of Youth Protection, which may take action with your family.

👉If you are over 14, know that you can consult a health professional without your family’s permission. But doing this can be hard to manage, so think about talking with workers at your school or community centre so you can get support instead of navigating this on your own. You can also ask a friend to come with you.

How can you change your community’s preconceived notions about mental health? 🧠

How can you change your community’s preconceived notions about mental health? 🧠

The easiest way to change mentalities is to start a support group on social media. By sharing your experience with other young people and providing mental health information or advice on how to get help, you will start a positive discussion about these issues and, little by little, shift prejudices.


Speak with a Tel-Jeunes worker: it’s anonymous, free and accessible 24/7