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Mental Illness Awareness Week (Canada)

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   By: Justin S. N. Boodhoo

   2014-10-15 10:00 PM

As we inch closer to gaining an hour of time in our day, we also get closer to Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which runs this year from October 5-11, 2014. MIAW is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of mental illness, reducing stigma, and celebrating the successes of individuals living with mental illness. One initiative that puts mental health in the spotlight annually is the Faces of Mental Illness Campaign. This campaign is run by the Canadian Alliance on mental illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), in conjunction with mental Illness Week and focuses on individuals living with mental illness, sharing their stories, their struggles, and their successes. The Faces of Mental Illness Campaign really looks to promote the fact that anyone is at risk of mental health issues, but also creates a safe and open space to have the conversation about mental health and mental illness in order for us to be more comfortable about the topic.

The Faces of mental Health Campaign can be seen online at www.camimh.ca. Please take some time view this information and begin the discussion about mental illness. Mental illness affects everyone. Whether it is the friend, family member, colleague, or neibour, we all will be impacted by mental health at some point in our lives. For this reason it is so important to be informed, know where to look for information, and understand that mental health isn’t just the absence of mental illness, it is also about feeling and being mentally well.

Wellness is often viewed from the lens of physical health, but being mentally well is also crucial in our lives.  “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (World Health Organization).

It is understandable to see why wellness often is the last thing on our mind. Family, work, and other things often take priority, but one thing to remember is wellness can also be a very easy thing to do. For some people, wellness may be just sitting in a quiet space, reading a book, or even listening to music. Mental Health America (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/ten-tools ) gives ten really great tools to maintain mental wellness. Among these are, connecting with others, getting enough sleep, and staying positive. These tools are just some of the ways that we can maintain wellness. Although it can sometimes be hard to see where we can fit these things in, it’s very important to maintain balance in our lives so we don’t get overwhelmed with the day to day stresses of live, and remember, it is ok to take time for yourself. By taking time to care for ourselves, we foster an environment to deal with challenges, struggles, as well as make ourselves available to help others.


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