The second week of October brings with it the reminder that millions of Canadians live with mental illnesses every day.
Oct 6-12 is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), an annual national public education campaign coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). CAMIMH’s mandate is to ensure that mental illness and mental health are placed on the national agenda so that Canadians receive appropriate access to care and support. CMHA is an active member of CAMIMH and is proud to support its annual Faces of Mental Illness campaign during MIAW.
This year’s MIAW encourages Canadians to spread awareness and reduce all forms of stigma around mental illness by sharing their personal stories and joining the conversation online using the hashtag #MIAW19. As mental illness directly and indirectly affects more than six million people across the country, the campaign encourages Canadians to engage in a discussion on the need to end societal stigmatization of mental illness and call for increased access to mental health services for all Canadians.
CMHA Oxford recognizes the power of sharing a personal story to break down stigma, and is grateful to have a dedicated group of Peer Support volunteers who use their experience to help others. Peer Support volunteers are trained to support others living with mental illness by using the knowledge gained in their own lived experience, through one-on-one support, groups, and programs.
CMHA Oxford encourages everyone during Mental Illness Awareness Week to find help if needed by contacting ReachOut at 1-866-933-2023, visiting Oxford County Walk-In Counselling, dropping-in to Oxford Self-Help, or connecting with a peer supporter. It is also important to give support to those with mental illness by learning more about mental illness, asking questions, listening to loved ones share their concerns, and engaging politicians to prioritize funding for mental health services.