The first full week of October invites Canadians to share the realities of living with mental health issues through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). MIAW is an annual national public education campaign coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations, including CMHA.
This year’s MIAW theme is Mental Health: Take Action Now. As one in five Canadians live with mental health issues, the campaign encourages everyone to be an advocate for mental health, and offers opportunities on how Canadians can get involved. Participants can showcase the MIAW event in their community by submitting it on the CAMIMH website, or by sharing it on social media with the hashtag #TakeActionNow.
CAMIMH also showcases personal stories of Canadians living with mental health conditions during MIAW through the Faces of Mental Illness campaign. The 2015 Faces of Mental Illness are: Peter Neily, a police officer in the RCMP; Kendra Fisher, a former member of Team Canada’s National Hockey Program; Wali Shah, a student and youth mentor for Nexus Youth Services; Patricia Lemoine, a communications and marketing manager; and Julie Tansey, a mental health activist.
“By sharing their personal stories and paths to recovery, the Faces inspire many of us in seeking help, supporting loved ones with a mental illness and to encourage more action on the part of policymakers,” said Florence Budden, CAMIMH Campaign Chair 2015.
Over the next year, the Faces will take part in events to educate Canadians about the realities of living with mental illness. This includes a national media outreach campaign as well as mini-documentaries which will be shared with policymakers at a marquee event during MIAW 2015.
For more information on the 2015 Faces of Mental Illness and Mental Illness Awareness Week, visit the CAMIMH website.