National Mental Health Week provided Townshippers with an opportunity to shine a light on issues that often remain in the dark.
â€śNobody in Knowlton suffers from depression or mental illness,â€ť joked Linda Ransom, a Knowlton resident who openly struggles with depression. She has hosted a support group in Knowlton for 16 years, inviting people to gather to discuss their struggles, and share their successes. The meetings are held discreetly, because Ransom believes the stigma associated with mental illness still prevents people from coming forward and seeking treatment. â€śNobody wants to talk about it,â€ť she said.
As Ransom sees it, illnesses that manifest physically are unavoidable, and usually dealt with openly, but mental illness is something people canâ€™t see; and people donâ€™t understand what they canâ€™t see. She suggested people are more likely to put up a front than talk about how they are really feeling. â€śThe statistics are there,â€ť she said, â€śmost suffer in silence and donâ€™t get the help they need.â€ť
Tim Wisdom is a Counselor at Lâ€™Ă‰veil, located in Cowansville. It is a community resource that works to maintain the social reintegration in the community of people suffering from mental health problems. Wisdom does one-on-one counselling in French and English, and also assists with referrals.
â€śThe worst thing to do is not talk about it,â€ť Wisdom said. He insisted that breaking the taboo is important, saying that as many as one in four people are likely to develop a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. In addition to counseling, Wisdom has a radio show on CIDI, where he discusses a different mental health-related topic each month, and occasionally invites guests to share their experiences.
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