A week or so ago an invitation appeared in my Email that peaked my interest as does anything that comes from the Canadian Mental Health Association and right away I registered to attend and I am so happy that I did,
This year, Mental Illness Awareness Week runs October 1st to the 7th and is a national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness and the “Mental Illness Awareness Walk” which took place on Thursday, October 5th, (the event I registered for) was bursting at the seams with important information to help us break the stigma, encourage open conversation and foster empathy, reminding us that we can create a world where mental health is valued, understood and nurtured because no one should ever be alone in this journey.
Walking up the the Cornwall Civic Complex doors (where the event was held) I saw so many people from so many walks of like, all coming together. I really don’t believe that there is anyone who is immune to mental health issues. I believe that all of us have experienced something related to our mental health at some point in time and may still be dealing everyday with some kind of situation that challenges our mental health. As one of the speakers on the panel said, Mental Health issues are Health Issues that need to be dealt with. There is no problem getting medical help for a broken leg so what is the difference getting help to deal with our Mental Health?
The goal of this awareness week is to educate, raise awareness, connect with community services and provide an opportunity for learning and many services were present with tables full of information to share. Initially we visited all these booths pictured above, with an “Event Passport” in hand. The purpose of this was as you visited each booth you got a stamp and when your passport was fully stamped it was entered into draws to win prizes.
Opening remarks were by Chantal Tessier, Program Manager of CMHA Champlain East.
Next from two students we heard a number of “Did you know?” facts such as:
In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness.
70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
Mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common types of mental disorders in Canada.
An estimated 75% of children and youth with mental health disorders do not access specialized treatment services.
After that Angele D’Alessio introduced panel speakers, Tom, Amanda, Raymond and Stephen, who spoke about their various mental health obstacles ranging from severe social anxiety and depression, ADHD, Bipolar disorder, alcohol addiction plus suicidal tendencies and how with the right help they have been able to overcome them and are constantly working still to better themselves where their mental health is concerned.
From these talks, one of the things that resonated with me was when Stephen said that the hardest word you have to learn how to say is “No” because if you are always saying “Yes” to everything, eventually it will lead to burnout and major mental health issues as it did for him!!!
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the “Hope & Resiliency Award” which went to Rob McKee. Rob was nominated by Debra D’Alessio who told us why Rob was so worthy of this award. Staying on the path to recovery in a positive way and educating others were two of the things Debra mentioned among a list of many many more. Congratulations Rob!
The Awareness Walk itself took place from 11:30 to 12 noon and of course I walked it taking photos at the same time. Cars honked as we went down from the Civic Complex to Sydney Street, down Second to Pitt and then along Water Street back to the Complex where there was a BBQ by the Optimist Club of Cornwall and the prize draws took place. A nice touch was when the walkers were greeted by local business owners holding signs in support of Mental Illness Awareness,
What a beautiful day and a beautiful event. Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, organizations sharing information and also the Cornwall Police who guided the walk through our Community.
For anyone needing help please read the Mental Health Matters column in the SDG & A Cornwall Seeker each month, visit the CMHA Champlain East office located at 329 Pitt Street, Cornwall, ON, Canada, Ontario, call them in Cornwall at: (613) 933-5845 or 1-800-493-8272 or visit their website at: cmha-east.on.ca
Remember that Mental Health knows no boundaries, it affects us all. Nevertheless, in our collective strength, we find resilience!
The Seeker Newspaper is located at 327 Second Street E., Cornwall, ON K6H 1Y8 -- All rights reserved The Seeker does not accept responsibility for errors, misprints or inaccuracies published within. The opinions and statements of our columnists are not to be presumed as the statements and opinions of The Seeker, and should not substitute professional or medical advice.
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