Mental Health – Just as important as Physical Health

Are you ready to celebrate Mental Health Week: May 7-13, 2012?

There are many reasons why mental illness occurs, and it is much more common than you may realize. Mental health problems affect Canadians of all ages, genders, cultures, education and income levels. Studies indicate that in any given year, one in every five Canadian adults under age 65 will have a mental health problem.

It is likely that mental illness will indirectly touch every Canadian at some time because a family member, friend or colleague experiences mental illness. Most of these individuals say that the stigma associated with mental illness is worse than the actual symptoms itself.

Many don’t ask for help out of shame or fear. A recent Canadian research study found that almost half of the people surveyed considered a mental disorder was just an excuse for poor behavior.

Some 18% of young people (ages 15–24) in Canada are estimated to suffer from a mental health disorder. Suicide is the No. 2 cause of death in this age group. Ninety percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable disease. People with mental illness are really the vulnerable ones. They not only battle a disease that is invisible, they battle society’s perception of who they are and what they do.

Mental illnesses are chronic; in other words, they are lifelong. With treatment and support, the symptoms of mental illness are treatable.. Like any disorder – physical or mental – treatment will vary, depending on the illness. Treatments include counseling, medication, support and training by mental health professionals. Although you too can play an important role as a member of the team, you need to keep in mind that the responsibility and choices around recovery are up to the individual affected.

Common types of Mental Illness are:

Mood disorders, Anxiety disorders, Eating disorders, Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (ADD or ADHD) and Schizophrenia. Other diagnosable conditions include dementia, personality disorders, and substance use disorders (addictions).

Learn all you can about mental health issues from reliable sources. For further information, please go to the Canadian Mental Health Association at .

Another good article from Benefits Canada:

CMHA’s Mental Health Week is an annual national event that takes place during the first week in May to encourage people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health.

Submitted by: Dawne Helischauer

Share this post