What affects all Canadians either directly or indirectly at some point in their life? According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), mental illnesses do. “Twenty per cent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels and cultures.”
Every year CMHA hosts its national Mental Health Awareness Week (May 1st – 7th) in hopes to educate, advocate and try to put a stop to the stigma surrounding mental health.
“This year during CMHA Mental Health Week, Canadians are speaking up: we’ve been in line for mental health care for way too long,” CMHA stated in media release. “We can’t wait anymore. We are literally sick of waiting. But we’re not only waiting for mental health care. To be truly mentally well, Canadians also need psychotherapy, counselling and community-based mental health services and programs; we need acknowledgement and respect; and we need adequate housing.”
CMHA says most of the stigma attached to mental illnesses comes from lack of general knowledge about what exactly a mental illness is.
“Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community,” says CMHA.
Slave Lake Addictions and Mental Health partook in the week-long campaign and put up various displays around town. They are located inside the government centre building. For those who don’t know, it’s free to set up an appointment to speak with someone.