Men­tal Ill­ness Aware­ness Week

Seaway News - - LIFESTYLE -

Men­tal Ill­ness Aware­ness Week ( MIAW) is an an­nual na­tional Men­tal Health Pro­mo­tion cam­paign de­signed to help open the eyes of Cana­di­ans to the re­al­ity of men­tal ill­ness. The theme of this year’s Men­tal Ill­ness Aware­ness Week is “ Face Men­tal Ill­ness.” It runs from Oct. 4 to 10, 2009.

A num­ber of myths have led to mis­un­der­stand­ings about men­tal ill­ness, pre­vent­ing many peo­ple from seek­ing and get­ting help when they need it. All of us can make a dif­fer­ence for the nearly six mil­lion Cana­di­ans af­fected by men­tal ill­nesses.

Here are some of the com­mon myths — and truths.

• Peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness are vi­o­lent and danger­ous. The truth is that, as a group, men­tally ill peo­ple are no more vi­o­lent than any other group. In fact, they are far more likely to be the vic­tims of vi­o­lence than to be vi­o­lent them­selves.

• Peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness are poor and/ or less in­tel­li­gent. Many stud­ies show that most men­tally ill peo­ple have av­er­age or above-av­er­age in­tel­li­gence. Men­tal ill­ness, like phys­i­cal ill­ness, can af­fect any­one re­gard­less of in­tel­li­gence, so­cial class or in­come level.

• Men­tal ill­ness is caused by a per­sonal weak­ness. A men­tal ill­ness is not a char­ac­ter flaw. It is an ill­ness, and it has noth­ing to do with be­ing weak or lack­ing wil­lower. Al­though peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness can play a big part in their own re­cov­ery, they did not choose to be­come ill, and they are not lazy be­cause they can­not just “ snap out of it.”

• Men­tal ill­ness is a sin­gle, rare dis­or­der. Men­tal ill­ness is not a sin­gle dis­ease but a broad clas­si­fi­ca­tion for many dis­or­ders. Anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, schizophre­nia, per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders, eat­ing dis­or­ders and or­ganic brain dis­or­ders can cause mis­ery, tears and missed op­por­tu­ni­ties for thou­sands of Cana­di­ans.

Men­tal ill­ness knows no bound­aries; it can af­fect all peo­ple, re­gard­less of age, cul­ture, in­come and ed­u­ca­tion. The Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion is mark­ing Men­tal Ill­ness Aware­ness Week with an Aware­ness Walk to be held on Tues­day, Oct. 6, 2009 from 10: 30 a. m. to 12 p. m. at 343 Pitt St. ( Star­bright Cen­tre). For more in­for­ma­tion call 613-933-5845 ex­ten­sion 241.

Please join us for the aware­ness walk and make a dif­fer­ence in your com­mu­nity. Show peo­ple with men­tal ill­nesses that we care!

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