For too long, a mental illness diagnosis was compounded by feelings of shame, weakness, or otherness. But since 1992, Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) has been pulling back the curtain on the stigma that colours lived experience.
With each MIAW Faces of Mental Illness campaign, which the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) proudly supports, we are given a fresh perspective on what it means to live in recovery, and with hope and dignity. This year’s faces are no different — they’re proof positive that a mental illness can be proactively managed with the right treatments and supports.
Which is why, more than ever, as greater numbers of people come forward to seek the help they need and deserve, we must pivot: what we need now is a little less conversation, a little more action. We need to improve access to services that are too scant, overstretched, and underfunded — and we need to innovate. Our country is too vast, with populations too sparsely distributed, to expect a brick-and-mortar clinic on every corner.
But we don’t have to accept this reality.
We can turn to solutions like Stepped Care 2.0, which has reduced mental health care wait times in Newfoundland and Labrador by 68 per cent. With single session walk-in services and access to internet and app-based e-mental health technologies, Stepped Care 2.0 puts all the available resources at our disposal. Its success lies in acknowledging that people may not always need the most expensive, highly trained professional care when they’re experiencing emotional distress.
With other forward-thinking provinces and territories implementing similar models, or signalling their intent to replicate this approach, we may well see a spike in access to services worthy of the brave MIAW faces sharing their story, and of every other face of mental illness living in this country.
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mental Health Commission of Canada, Media Relations
613.683.3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org