There is no denying that mental health affects all of us. Whether it’s a family member, a colleague, a friend or a neighbour, most of us have had a first-hand brush with the challenges of mental health and addiction. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Canadian Mental Health Association has declared a “Mental Health Week” next month — May 2-8, 2016.
As women, many of us are the primary caregiver for both our children and aging parents and with one in five Canadians living with mental illness, we are likely the ones taking care of these loved ones. This leaves us more susceptible to clinical depression ourselves from the excess stress. Let’s work together to make a difference and show our support.
As more awareness is raised around mental health, there is a still a long way to go to break the stigma and open the dialogue. While its great to have actors, supermodels and athletes on the record about self-esteem and addiction, it’s the people in our communities who will ultimately make a difference. Enter CAMH, Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and world leading research centre and their One Brave Night campaign.
As nighttime is often when those living with mental illness feel the most alone, One Brave Night asks Canadians to stay awake the night of Friday May 13th to show their support. It challenges individuals and encourages teams to register online, raise funds and share the dialogue on mental health and addiction. At dawn, we expect to see a flurry of #sunriseselfie posts on social media.
We’ve seen a number of interesting teams pledge including “Team Jim” helmed by CBC Dragon and Boston Pizza boss Jim Treliving and “Missy Ink” a London-based Women’s Alternative magazine focused on tattoo art and loving ourselves just the way we are. We were particularly moved by team “Forever Young” led by 13-year-old Ashton Park. Ashton lost his dad to mental illness in 2014 and is looking to raise $6000 this year (you can join Ashton’s team, if you like – here).
While we cannot change who suffers from this disease, we can change the dialogue and get people talking. Join a team, fund a team or just get talking. www.onebravenight.ca