Ways to honour World Mental Health Day

Whether you’ve been personally touched by a mental health issue or know someone who has, the challenge is one that affects millions of Canadians. Remove the stigmas, and raise awareness about mental health in one of these great ways.

Help raise awareness
Woman with therapist

Do your part to makea difference on Oct. 10

Chances are you associate the month of October with turkey-filled Thanksgiving or fun and festive Halloween. But there’s also a day that doesn’t get quite as much attention even though it’s deserving of every bit of focus and support we can give it.

And that’s World Mental Health Day. This Oct. 10, take a break from the feasting and costume-finding to do something meaningful for the billions of people around the world suffering from mental health issues.

Make a donation

The Institute of Health Economics reports that even though mental illnesses make up more than 15 per cent of the disease burden in our country, these illnesses receive only 5.5 per cent of health care dollars. What’s more, only one-third of those who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them (Statistics Canada). So you know that when you donate to a mental health organization, you truly can make a difference. Your donation could mean the difference between someone with depression getting the counselling they need and not being able to afford it. Here are just a few of the organizations you can get involved with:

If you’d prefer to donate to a smaller organization, there are plenty of groups dedicated to helping people with mental health issues get the care and support they need. Check out 211Canada.ca to find one you’re passionate about.

Volunteer

Money is by no means the only way you can make a difference. Volunteering for a mental health charity is an incredible gift for those in need. Visit 211Canada.ca to find a group that speaks to you, then call it up to find out how volunteering works. Some require a regular time commitment, but others are happy to have you help out for a particular event or occasion. So don’t be shy — start volunteering today!

Be vocal

Unfortunately one of the biggest challenges many individuals with mental health issues face is the stigma that can be attached to their illnesses. It’s hard to get help when you’re worried you will be judged or ostracized because of your condition. One way to change this is by raising awareness this Oct. 10. Try learning one fact about mental illness, then share it with as many people as you can. Here are some facts from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

  • In Canada, mental illness is the second leading cause of human disability and premature death.
  • Schizophrenia affects 1 per cent of people, major depression 8 per cent and anxiety disorder 12 per cent .
  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime, and the remaining 4 will have a friend, family member or co-worker who will.

The facts make it clear that mental illness is more common than people think. So it’s up to us to change the belief that there’s something wrong with having such a challenge and to let everyone know it’s OK to speak up. So get out there, and make a difference on World Mental Health Day!

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