Health Minister Terry Lake issued the following statement today to recognize Oct. 10, 2014, as World Mental Health Day, and the week of Oct. 5-11, 2014, as Mental Illness Awareness Week.
“With one in every five adults diagnosed with a mental illness during their lifetime, mental illness is the number one cause of disability in Canada and yet it is often not discussed and remains poorly understood by many.
“People battling with mental illness often remain hidden by stigma, fear and shame. They may be grandparents, friends, neighbours, co-workers or children - people you love and care for.
“I applaud the efforts of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, for their successful Faces of Mental Illness campaign to bring to light those living in recovery from mental illness and open the eyes of the public to the reality of living with mental illness.
“Mental illness is not a localized issue. It affects people in every community, province and country. Together, we can reduce the stigma, break down barriers and learn from one another to provide help for those who suffer.
“During the federal, provincial and territorial meetings last week, I made it a priority to add mental health and substance use to the agenda for the next provincial and territorial meeting that B.C. will be chairing in Vancouver. Each province has strengths that they bring to the table, and we can all learn from each other. I look forward to continuing this discussion and sharing our learnings, strengths and weaknesses, and work together to raise awareness and supports for people struggling with mental illness.
“The road to recovery from mental illness can be rocky, but with the support of provincial, federal and territorial governments, communities, families, health-care providers and organizations, we can help smooth the way. We are committed to working together to support British Columbians who struggle with mental illness.
“I want to thank the communities and courageous individuals participating in World Mental Health Day and Mental Illness Awareness Week.”
For more information, visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/healthy-minds
To learn more about World Mental Health Day, please visit: www.who.int/mental_health/world_mental_health_day/en/
For information on Mental Illness Awareness Week and the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, visit: www.camimh.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)