Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 1-7th 2023
Each Year the first week of October is Canada’s National Campaign to enhance the awareness of mental Illness. The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health set out the theme this year as Awareness, Access and Parity for Mental Health and Substance use Care in Canada. It is important to take time this week to educate yourself on mental illness. With greater understanding we strive to reduce stigma related to mental illness and substance use, along with breaking down barriers to seeking support around these issues. We want to encourage individuals with lived experiences or for those who have been affected to share their stories to break down barriers so people don’t feel alone in their struggles and to identify gaps in the need for services.
A mental illness is characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation or behavior. It is usually associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning. It should be stated that because you have a mental illness does not mean you have poor mental health, and vice versa, you may not have a mental illness but you can still have poor mental health. It is important for each one of us to look after our mental health as we would care for our physical health.
At any one time many factors such as stress, family, community, or environmental factors can combine to protect or undermines one’s mental health. The World Who Organization states that although many people are resilient to life’s adversities, there are circumstances that could put individuals at higher risk such as poverty, violence, disability and inequality. Protective factors and risk factors can include individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills and coping and as well as genetics. Many of the risk and protective factors are influence through changes in brain structure or function.
- Each year 1 out of 5 Canadians experience a mental Health illness each year. – Mental Health Commission of Canada
- More than 1 in 2 of struggling Canadians are not getting the mental health help they need. – Mental Health Research Canada
- Untreated mental illness costs the Canadian economy around $50 billion every year. – Canadian Mental Health Association
- Over 20% of Canadians in any given year will experience mental health concerns, only a third of those people will seek help or treatment. – Statistics Canada
- In Canada, an average of 20 deaths per day are because of opioid overdose. – Statistics Canada
Please take time to educate yourself on mental health/illness. It is important we are all working together to raise awareness, fight stigma and provide support to those in need.
Should you or a loved one need support please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can contact the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line at 1-877-435-7170, a crisis line available 24 hours per day. A trained crisis worker will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need. Locally you can contact Westman Crisis Services at 204-725-4411 or 1-888-379-7699 in Brandon Area, or 1-866-332-3030 for PMH-North- In an emergency call 911 or contact a local hospital or health office.
COMING SOON: On Nov. 30 2023 the 988-suicide crisis line will be available to all Canadians in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It will offer trauma-informed and culturally appropriate services by trained crisis responders by phone or text.