01 Feb Let’s Talk. But first Let’s Listen.
This week it would have been difficult to not hear or see promotion of Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative. And that’s a good thing. It brought to light key information relating to the mental health challenges so many Canadians deal with and a special message to those who deal with these issues in silence.
It’s interesting to note that Let’s Talk has four pillars designed to promote awareness and action, one of which is Workplace Health. In fact, one of the most visible parts of this year’s campaign features different workplace scenarios and how conversations play out relating to employees dealing with mental health issues.
The fact that there is that much focus on workplace mental health should be a wakeup call to all parents of young workers of how their kid’s treatment at work can impact their mental health, regardless of the source of their mental health challenges.
All the media exposure for the initiative put some very worthwhile organizations in the spotlight, including the Kid’s Help Phone. A recurring perspective that young people who have benefitted from the Kid’s Help Phone is that they could finally talk to someone who would listen – to finally enable them to share their fears and concerns. This ability to open up is often the first step in getting the support that is essential to dealing with issues, be they mental health or otherwise.
When you think about it, there is an inference here that these young people have not had the opportunity to speak with someone who really wanted to listen prior to this phone call. Of course every loving parent would gladly listen to their child in their moment of need. This raises two important questions:
Are parents listening enough to recognize that their child is in distress?
Are they capable of having conversations with their children in which they can truly allow them to air their thoughts without interrupting them and offering advice with all the best intentions in the world?
Sadly, all too often the feeling that their parents are more interested in talking than listening, can cause young people to withdraw even farther.
Developing the self-control required to truly listen, to withhold judgement and advice and get a deeper understanding of what the issues really are, can be transformational in any relationship.
BringSafetyHome.com is a website that offers insight and tools designed to enable more productive conversations. This includes videos from experts like renowned therapist Jennifer Kolari. This video has particularly valuable insight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y04NzM4s06I&t=15s