For many years, I was the educational consultant to the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto, Ontario. In that capacity, I developed several mental illness awareness workshops for frontline workers, agencies and caregivers. The most satisfying part of that role was going into a group of participants who were fearful of those with mental illness and opening their eyes to the realities. The proverbial light bulbs would go off, the stigma would be lifted and their minds open to how they could better the lives of those who were experiencing a mental illness.
Mental illness affects more than six million—or one in five—Canadians. Close to 4,000 Canadians commit suicide each year and it is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 – 24. Many Canadians do not recognize that they are ill while others don’t seek help because of misconceptions about these diseases.
Beverly’s Hot Tip for celebrating Mental Illness Awareness Week:
Taking the time to learn about mental illness could make all the difference to you or to someone you care about. During this month – open your eyes and find your own path to helping a family member, a friend, a co-worker or a person you meet sitting there on the street who may desperately need your understanding and compassion.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!