Mental Illness Awareness Week (September 30 – October 6) is an annual national public education campaign to help open the eyes of all Canadians to the reality of mental illness. Beginning in 1992, MIAW brings faces to mental illness and promotes increased national dialogue to address the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
“Due to the leadership of CAMIMH and campaigns right across Canada, there is growing momentum that is building a stronger understandings of mental illness” notes CASW President, Morel Caissie. “With more understanding will come less and less stigma.”
Cornerstones of the MIAW campaign are the Faces of Mental Illness that lend their life stories to advance understanding and highlight the accomplishments made by everyday Canadians living with mental illnesses.
“Most Canadians whether they aware of it or not, know a person managing a mental illness” notes Caissie. “In fact, one in five Canadians are likely to experience a diagnosable mental illness and the Faces of Mental Illness bring help this fact to life.”
The Government of Canada recently acknowledged the growing need to address mental illness and mental health with the delivery of the first national mental health strategy ‘Changing Directions, Changing Lives.’
“CASW is supportive of ‘Changing Directions, Changing Lives’ and commends the federal government for its commitment to delivering a national strategy” states Caissie. “CASW encourages all Canadians to use MIAW as opportunity to let their Members of Parliament know that they support increased investment in mental health as called for in the national strategy.”