Mental illness has yet again been thrust to the forefront of public consciousness with the recent tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. It is unfortunate such a discussion about mental health, and the lacklustre efforts we, as a society, make for those struggling with such issues, must be prompted by such tragedy. It shouldn’t take a massacre and so many lives to get us to speak about and act upon the growing mental health crisis facing our communities.
Accordingly, I’m pleased to see the Manitoba Psychological Society has recently launched a “Mind Your Mental Health” campaign to raise awareness about, and encourage people to seek help for mental illness. It follows similar campaigns in other provinces, chief among them the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health‘s “Defeat Denial” campaign in Ontario, which was launched earlier this year.
I recall, while in Toronto this past summer, watching CAMH’s provocative 30-second ad before many a movie. It was arresting, aggressive—and definitely struck a very personal chord with me. So, too, does MPS’ campaign.
At least 1 in 5 Canadians struggle with a mental illness. Unfortunately, as the MPS campaign makes plain, too many of those people are not receiving the support and treatment they need.
It is no surprise why not: there are only 47 psychologists for every 100,000 Canadians nation-wide; a paltry 20 per 100,000 in Manitoba. We can and must do better.
Amidst all the noise about the latest in a long line of gun-related tragedies to befall America’s children, I hope everyone will take a moment to mind their mental health and that of their loved ones—and consider letting your elected officials know it’s time for action on this important issue.