So it is Mental Health Week with the hashtag GET LOUD. Any chance to create open dialogue around such a subject that can affect so many people needs to be taken advantage of and applauded. The best way to heal is through discussion, because only then can anything else fall properly into place.

Man and Woman profiles face opposite ways in couple problem jigsaw puzzle

As someone who lives personally with disability, as someone who works within non-profit, as someone who has participated in discussions with both friends and colleagues, I can safely say that the branches of mental health issues can stretch far and wide; and they are very real. Mental health can affect us on a variety of different levels, at home, in the work place, and it can come in-between relationships. There is no quick, stand alone, fix. But listening, understanding, being open minded, and talking, is a great starting point.

I urge you not to become swayed by the label of mental health and to start making assumptions or adding to the misconceptions. Really take the time to look beyond; and you can do this by visiting the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about how to break the silence and help overcome the isolation; http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/

By Mark Koning

Mark is the Communications & Administration Coordinator with the AIDS Committee of York Region. Mark is also an Author and Blogger of Challenging Barriers and The BIST Blog. (Brain Injury Society of Toronto)