Mental Health Public Awareness Campaign – Not Myself Today

on June 14, 2012

by Kiera

When I was growing up, I was not aware of what mental health meant. I hadn’t even heard the term. As a child and adolescent, I knew that my mother did not have the best relationship with my grandmother but it was not until I was much older that I was told that my grandmother had suffered from depression which had severely strained her relationships with her family.

As an adult, I am encouraged by the changes that I see happening in the area of mental health. These days, we are hearing more about mental health and more is being done to tackle the stigma of living with mental health challenges.

Public awareness campaigns in British Columbia and across Canada are becoming more common and well known. In BC, we have the Mindcheck.ca initiative endorsed by the Vancouver Canucks which focuses on early identification and early intervention among young people who may be experiencing mental health challenges. Across Canada, Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign supports mental health programs across Canada which enhance awareness, understanding and treatment of mental illness.

Another exciting initiative is lead by Partners for Mental HealthPartners for Mental Health is a national organization that aims to change the way Canadians think, act and support mental health. They have launched Canada’s first national social movement called Not Myself Today. The campaign encourages Canadians to sign an online pledge, which asks Canadians to do their part in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Pay more attention to their own mental health and wellbeing
  2. Support a loved one/friend/co-worker who is living with a mental health challenge or illness
  3. Challenge the negative stereotypes and attitudes that exist around mental illness
  4. Contact their elected officials to help influence policy that will improve the mental health system
  5. Volunteer their time to support the mental health cause
  6. Donate/fundraise for the mental health cause

On the site, visitors can also learn more about the issue of mental health in Canada, learn about actions they can take to contribute, and share their story. Over 28,000 Canadians have taken the pledge to date and there are hundreds who have shared their story.

Partners for Mental Health is committed to launching several national campaigns each year which will help to empower Canadians in acting to support mental health. These are the kinds of initiatives that we need to continue bringing mental health “out of the shadows”.

In my family, we did not talk about the mental health issues that touched us. But I truly believe that talking about the issues, without shame or stigma, is the only way to begin to work towards a solution. That is why I am so encouraged by the conversations that are happening around mental health in both BC and across Canada. I would encourage everyone to be part of the social movement lead by Partners for Mental Health. Because as they say on their website, almost every Canadian has had a day when they didn’t feel like themselves. Mental health can no longer be ignored.

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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.