“Hats on for mental Health”- Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

When we are free of depression, anxiety, excessive stress and worry, addictions, and other psychological problems, we are more able to live our lives to the fullest.

Peace of mind is a natural condition, and is available to everyone.

.Mental health strengthens and supports our ability to:

  • have healthy relationships
  • make good life choices
  • maintain physical health and well-being
  • handle the natural ups and downs of life
  • discover and grow toward our potential

Each year from   May 2-8th  is Mental health awareness week. Being a Mental health ambassador in  central Alberta and knowing the personal struggles of fighting a mental illness this is a topic that is very close to my  heart and a subject I believe is  vital to educated upon in schools Canada wide. With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life its hard to look after are mental well being and ask ourselves “are we doing ok”, During this annual week every May, people of all ages are encouraged to learn, talk, reflect and engage with all others on all issues relating around mental health without the fear of being judged by their peers   The Canadian Mental Health Association has a great list of resources to explore. You can also visit the Alberta Education website for even  more information and resources associated with mental health.

Show your Support

hats on

I am Totally in love with these big statement hats!! Whats better then wearing them for a great cause! Thank You Leigha Graf from the Honor Studio for the great photo

During this special week is  Hats On! For Mental Health day on Wednesday,May 4. On this day, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association and Global TV were asking schools to relax their hat rules and encourage both students and staff to show support for mental health awareness by wearing a hat to school on this day.  Did you post a selfie with your favorite Hat and show your Support??

Being an active member of my high school’s student council, I had the wonderful chance to help shine even more light onto this ever important subject Besides from “hats on” the week was filled with take one as you needmental health centered games, guest speakers and activities each noon hour, with fast facts ( as can be seen below) said on the morning announcements and broadcasted on the school television’s, My favorite though being “take one as you need” posters hanging all over the school, encouraging all students to embrace the idea that they are amazing and loved no matter what.  Such as fun week of learning and self- discovery for all.

Fast Facts about Mental Illness


Who is affected?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?

  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
  • Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.

What is the economic cost?

  • The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system.
  • In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behavior.Sources: The Report on Mental Illness in Canada, October 2002. EBIC 1998 (Health Canada 2002), Stephens et al., 2001

How does it impact youth?

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

I hope this gave you some helpful information and encouraged you all to engage your school in the next Mental Health Awareness Week!!

Stay healthy- Miss Teenage Canada 2015

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