May 1-7 is Mental Health Awareness Week in the Border City. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association Website:
- 1/5 Canadians will personally experience mental illness sometime in their life
- 8% of adults will experience major depression in their lifetime
- 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder
- Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds
- Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world
- Only 1 out of 5 children in Canada who need mental health services receives them
The goal of the week to increase awareness about mental health resources available and to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“I think one of the things that we’ve come to recognize in our community is that physical health and mental health are completely intertwined and therefore it’s important to raise awareness about how important it is for people to pay attention to their mental health,” says Wendy Plandowski, Chief Executive Officer of the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation.
Plandowski goes on to say that people are starting to view mental health differently.
“I think people are talking more about mental health and one of the things that I see happening and we certainly see happening in our community is that people are talking about mental health in a mental wellness way also, which is great because sometimes we just focus on the negative, but mental health is positive and negative. So I think the stigma is being reduced somewhat in our community.”
She adds that that the main way to continue to reduce the stigma is education.
“There are definitely a lot of people that are tuned in with mainstream media and that kind of thing, but what about the people that aren’t tuned in and so that’s one of the areas that I think we really do need to continue to work on, is targeted education with different groups and what the pressures might be on those different groups, whether it’s social media, whether it’s the economy, those kind of things.”
For more information on Mental Health Services you can contact the Prairie North Health Region at 306-820-6250. You can also call 811 to talk to a registered nurse in Saskatchewan, or you can call the Mental Health Helpline 1-877-303-2642.