The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is getting ready to kick-off Mental Illness Awareness Week 2011 on October 2nd – a week dedicated to raising awareness of the level of mental illness in Canada and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.
“Although we have come a long way since this campaign started almost 20 years ago, the stigma of mental illness persists,” said CAMIMH Chair Dr. John Higenbottam. “Through this campaign, CAMIMH celebrates those with the courage to speak out about their experiences with mental illness and acknowledges the great work being done by individuals and organizations across the country to advance the cause.”
Each year during MIAW, CAMIMH hosts the Champions of Mental Health Awards. The awards will be presented to five distinguished leaders in the mental health field at a gala event held at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa on October 5th. The theme of the 2011 event is sharing and collaboration. Champions have spoken openly about their own experiences, advocated for much-needed research, and supported programs encouraging diagnosis, treatment and care for those affected by mental illness across Canada.
The 2011 Champions of Mental Health are:
Hon. Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Public Sector
President and CEO, Bell Canada and BCE Inc.
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Private Sector
Dr. Martin Antony
Chair, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Research
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Community (Organization)
Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Community (Individual)
CAMIMH’s year-long Face Mental Illness campaign shares inspirational stories of Canadians from coast-to-coast affected by mental illness. Campaign materials were distributed in English and French to thousands of organizations across Canada. These materials feature the five “Faces of Mental Illness”, selected to share their exceptional stories of recovery. They are:
Harmony Brown, a public speaker, mental health advocate and non-profit housing employee from Toronto, Ontario; Jeremy Bennett, an author, professional speaker and television personality from St. John’s, Newfoundland; Roberta Price, a mother, grandmother, and member of the Coast Salish Peoples in Richmond, British Columbia; Shana Calixte, who is completing her PhD in Women’s Studies at York University, is the leader of a community organization, and a loving partner and parent from Sudbury, Ontario; and Steeve Hurdle, a support worker at a homeless shelter in Sherbrooke, Québec.
“Our Faces demonstrate that it is possible to overcome the challenges associated with mental health issues and lead full, rewarding and productive lives”, said MIAW 2011 Chair, Dr. Pamela Forsythe. “These individuals are truly exceptional, and help spread the campaign’s message to all Canadians that Recovery is Possible.”
About Mental Illness Awareness Week
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association to raise awareness of the level of mental illness in Canada, reduce stigma attached to mental illness, and promote the positive effects of best practice in prevention, diagnosis and medical treatment. Since that time, participation has grown to include not only other professional associations but also community groups, primary care facilities, educational institutions, family support centres and individuals. For more information on MIAW, please visit www.miaw-ssmm.ca.
About MIAW Sponsors
Mental Illness Awareness Week and the Champions of Mental Health Awards cannot take place without the support of dedicated sponsors. They are: Bell, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Janssen, Lilly, Bristol-Myer Squibb and Rx&D.
For more information, please contact:
Some additional Information about Roberta Price:
Roberta is a mother, grandmother, and member of the Coast Salish Peoples in Richmond, British Columbia. At a time when many First Nations’ children were being placed in Residential Schools, Roberta was forcibly removed from her family and put into foster care. She was subjected to untold abuse and was required to abandon her First Nations’ identity. Roberta struggled for many years, enduring personal and family tragedies, too afraid to speak out about her anxiety and depression due to stigma. After a near death experience, Roberta sought professional support to work through her painful past and focus on the present. Roberta also found ways to heal and affirm her First Nations’ identity through Elders’ teachings. Roberta believes that sharing her story, continued support from health care professionals, and ongoing determination to help others have allowed her to manage her depression and PTSD. Despite her past struggles and experience with mental illness, Roberta’s strength and resilience allows her to achieve anything she puts her mind to. For Roberta, mental wellness is achievable. For Roberta, Recovery is Possible.