Mental Illness Awareness Week
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!