The first week of October was Mental Illness Awareness week and provided an opportunity for all Canadians to better understand issues surrounding mental health by promoting awareness that reduces the negative perceptions too often associated with mental illness.
Did you realize that one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, while 50 per cent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. The stigma associated with mental illness creates a barrier for those seeking help and those who live with mental illness most of their lives may never get the help they need.
In recent years’ numerous mental health campaigns have raised awareness and made important inroads in reducing the stigma of mental health issues. As someone whose mother was institutionalized twice for severe depression I am personally familiar with the attitudes that can surround mental health.
There are still too many individuals and families affected by mental illness subjected to fear, blame, and discrimination in our society.
Everyone who knows someone affected by mental illness is aware of the many ups and downs as a result of the challenges posed by mental illness.
As a society, we must learn to handle all such situations in a positive manner. Anyone who has been affected by mental illness should know that hope and help are always available and the era of blame, fear and stigmatization of mental health issues are in the past.
I would like to commend all individuals who cope with mental illness, their friends, and family, workers in the mental health system; all the non-profit organizations, community leaders, and the volunteers that take the time to raise awareness of mental illness.
So I want to take a moment to remind Manitobans that there are resources available to them all just a phone call away:
• Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba 204-786-0987;
• Postpartum Warmline 204-391-5983;
• Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba 204-925-0600;
• Manitoba Schizophrenia Society 204-786-1616;
• KLINIC Crisis Line 204-786-8686;
• Manitoba Suicide Line 877-435-7170;
• Crisis Stabilization Unit 204-940-3633;
• Mobile Crisis Service 204-940-1781;
• Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre 204-958-9660;
• Youth mobile crisis team 204-942-9276;
• Kids Help Phone 800-668-6868; and
• Farm and rural Support service 866-367-3276.
All of us need to share these numbers and this information and remind Manitobans facing mental health issues that they are not alone. I welcome your comments and feedback. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-736-3610.