Bell Canada will help open up the dialogue on mental illness with its annual Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is aiming to raise awareness about numerous mental health issues, including generalized anxiety disorder, which can affect both children and adults.

Libby Norris, whose son has generalized anxiety disorder, says stigma surrounding mental illness makes it difficult to cope, as does a “lack of awareness” about how to find resources available to families.

She remembers meeting with school officials to discuss her son’s diagnosis and being told there were no supports for someone with generalized anxiety disorder.

“I really felt like I was back to square one with trying to find supports,” Norris said on CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

Describing the condition, Norris said that her son would be “equally as stressed out choosing between two different ice creams, as he did with taking a test at school, so it really is general anxiety across the board, he was worried about absolutely everything.”

Diagnosis can also be tricky, says Dr. Sandra Mendlowitz, a psychologist in the child and youth outpatient mental health program at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.

While the “hallmark” of anxiety is avoidance, Mendlowitz said children suffering from the disorder may also experience stomachaches, headaches or have trouble concentrating.

“You can see how sometimes this can be confused with other mental health issues,” she said.

Watch and listen as Norris and Mendlowitz discuss the challenges of living with generalized anxiety disorder.

During Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate 5 cents to various mental health initiatives for every text message, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell customers; every tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk; every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook; and every use of the Bell Let’s talk geofilter on Snapchat.

CTV News is a division of Bell Canada.