Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 marks the start of an annual national education campaign designed to open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness, according to a news release from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
As part of the CAMH's mission to fight the stigma and discrimination that keeps people living with mental illness in the dark, CAMH recently launched the Defeat Denial campaign, which calls attention to the many ways society minimizes mental illness.
The campaign comes with provocative phrases like, "just snap out of it", "you're imagining things," and "you're making a big deal out of nothing,” designed to challenge people to rethink their attitudes and how society treats people with mental illness.
This fall, CAMH launched a new phase of the campaign and is encouraging people to submit videos telling how they will defeat denial.
Marianne Andarolo recalls going to her family physician for help and being told that all she needed was a good meal and a nap, according to the CAMH. She was reluctant to seek help again. It was only after a public incident when she was brought to hospital by police that she was properly diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder.
“People with mental illness are not abnormal," she said. "I lead a happy and successful life and I have an illness, just like people who live successfully with other medical conditions — mine just happens to be mental, not physical. There is help available and people shouldn't be ashamed to seek it out.”
One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, according to the CAMH. The remaining four will have a friend, family member or colleague who will.
For more information, visit www.camh.ca.