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This is Mental Illness Awareness week.

More and more, community agencies are choosing to focus on mental wellness. Which is great! Resilience strategies are a crucial piece of creating a mentally healthy community.

However, it’s equally important that we don’t erase the voices of those who suffer from a mental illness. The current statistic always seems to be 1 in 5. 1 in 5 people suffer from a debilitating mental illness, from which they can’t just bounce back. 1 in 5 youth had suicide ideation this year. And when you start to think about all the people who are surrounded by that 1 in 5 – friends, family, teachers, co-workers – you realize this is an issue that affects absolutely everyone, in some form or another. Today, we still face incredible barriers to wellness, from stigma, to a lack of resources, to enormous wait times and a shortage of prevention strategies.

So yes, let’s absolutely celebrate wellness. But on the same token, let’s never forget the voices of those with illness.

The silver lining is that more and more people today are opening the discussion about mental illness, and identifying a need for change. And if we all work together, every single one of us in some small way, we really can make a difference. It can be big, like approaching your school about making a change, or working with an organization like mindyourmind or CMHA. But it can also be small, like asking for help when you need it, or supporting a friend, or educating yourself about what mental illness is. If each and every one of us does something, we will be well on our way to having a healthy community, and a support system that works.

For more information on Mental Illness Awareness Week, check out this link:

For more information on mental illness, check out our Illness pages: