Destigmatizing Mental Illness: Mental Illness Awareness Week October 2-8, 2011

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Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health promotes mental illness awareness, announces recipients of Ninth Annual Champions of Mental Health Awards

September 30, 2011 @ 08:00AM

Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is getting ready to kick-off Mental Illness Awareness Week 2011 on October 2rd – a week dedicated to raising awareness of the level of mental illness in Canada and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.

“Although we have come a long way since this campaign started almost 20 years ago, the stigma of mental illness persists,” said CAMIMH Chair Dr. John Higenbottam. “Through this campaign, CAMIMH celebrates those with the courage to speak out about their experiences with mental illness and acknowledges the great work being done by individuals and organizations across the country to advance the cause.”

Each year during MIAW, CAMIMH hosts the Champions of Mental Health Awards. The awards will be presented to five distinguished leaders in the mental health field at a gala event held at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa on October 5th. The theme of the 2011 event is sharing and collaboration. Champions have spoken openly about their own experiences, advocated for much-needed research, and supported programs encouraging diagnosis, treatment, and care for those affected by mental illness across Canada.

The 2011 Champions of Mental Health are:

Hon. Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Public Sector

George Cope
President and CEO, Bell Canada and BCE Inc.
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Private Sector

Dr. Martin Antony
Chair, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Research

2011 Champion of Mental Health, Community (Organization)

David Granirer
Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health
2011 Champion of Mental Health, Community (Individual)

CAMIMH’s year-long Face Mental Illness campaign shares inspirational stories of Canadians from coast-to-coast affected by mental illness. Campaign materials were distributed in English and French to thousands of organizations across Canada. These materials feature the five “Faces of Mental Illness”, selected to share their exceptional stories of recovery. They are:

Harmony Brown, a public speaker, mental health advocate and non-profit housing employee from Toronto, Ontario; Jeremy Bennett, an author, professional speaker and television personality from St. John’s, Newfoundland; Roberta Price, a mother, grandmother, and member of the Coast Salish Peoples in Richmond, British Columbia; Shana Calixte, who is completing her PhD in Women’s Studies at York University, is the leader of a community organization, and a loving partner and parent from Sudbury, Ontario; and Steeve Hurdle, a support worker at a homeless shelter in Sherbrooke, Québec.

“Our Faces demonstrate that it is possible to overcome the challenges associated with mental health issues and lead full, rewarding and productive lives”, said MIAW 2011 Chair, Dr. Pamela Forsythe. “These individuals are truly exceptional, and help spread the campaign’s message to all Canadians that Recovery is Possible.”

About Mental Illness Awareness Week
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association to raise awareness of the level of mental illness in Canada, reduce the stigma attached to mental illness, and promote the positive effects of best practice in prevention, diagnosis and medical treatment. Since that time, participation has grown to include not only other professional associations but also community groups, primary care facilities, educational institutions, family support centres and individuals. For more information on MIAW, please visit

About MIAW Sponsors
Mental Illness Awareness Week and the Champions of Mental Health Awards cannot take place without the support of dedicated sponsors. They are Bell, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Janssen, Lilly, Bristol-Myer Squibb and Rx&D.

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