When it comes to mental health, why is it that too many people wait to reach “Stage 4” of their illness before seeking out the help they need?
Embarrassment. Fear. Isolation. Shame. Stigma.
Even within our own families – never mind society at large – the topic of mental illness is taboo, remaining rarely if ever discussed. The stigma of mental health issues unnecessarily leads to delays in treatment, or worse, no treatment at all. Meanwhile, the suffering is only prolonged, not just for the person living with a mental health issue or illness, but for their loved ones as well.
October 5 to 11, 2014 marks Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in Canada, coinciding with World Mental Health Day on October 10. The theme for this year’s MIAW is “ACT!ON”.
More than 6.7 million Canadians are living with a mental health issue or illness today; isn’t it time we take ACTION and ACT ON mental health?
There are many ways to do so. Here are just a few:
- pledge your Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) / United Way contributions to local organizations offering mental health programs, services and supports;
- visit RightByYou.ca and let your Member of Parliament know you support establishing a National Youth Suicide Prevention Fund, advocated by Partners for Mental Health;
- share your story of lived experience with a mental health condition, so that others suffering in silence may know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and that recovery is possible.
Ending the silence reduces the stigma, leading to better health outcomes for all. And with 1 in 5 Canadians today living with a mental health issue or illness, we all know someone needing help and support.
For a colleague, a neighbour, a friend, a family member or even yourself… isn’t it time you take ACTION and ACT ON mental health?