The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health Celebrates Mental Illness Awareness Week with the 2012 Faces of Mental Illness

CAMIMH to Recognize Five Outstanding Canadians on Parliament Hill

OTTAWA, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, members from the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) are celebrating five outstanding Canadians who are living in recovery from mental illness - this year's Faces of Mental Illness. The annual Faces campaign - now in its tenth year - aims to get people talking about mental illness and recognizes the important role mental health plays in the lives of all Canadians.  By coming forward, the Faces will help to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.

This year, CAMIMH received an astounding 90 nominations from across Canada of people living in recovery from mental illness. Of these, each of whom had inspiring stories to share, CAMIMH has chosen five individuals whose messages speak clearly to their lived experiences.

"Canadians from all walks of life continue to prove that with access to appropriate mental health services and supports, recovery from mental illness is possible," stated Dr. Karen Cohen, Chair of MIAW 2012.   "As well as recognizing exceptional individuals, the Faces campaign has a proud history of raising awareness and placing mental illness high on the public agenda."

"Despite the advancements we have seen in Canada's approach to mental health, Canadians living with mental illness continue to encounter barriers which prevent them from seeking the help they need and deserve," continued Dr. Cohen. "Some of those barriers, such as the persistent stigma associated with mental illness, will take time to bring down. However, the lack of access to services and treatment for Canadians living with mental illness is something Parliamentarians can change today. That is why we are on Parliament Hill this morning - to encourage the government to take action and make mental health a priority."

CAMIMH members and Parliamentarians assembled this morning for a breakfast on Parliament Hill, sponsored by Bell as part of their Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative, to discuss mental health concerns in Canada. In addition to speaking with Members of Parliament and Senators, the afternoon will also include a crucial meeting with Their Excellencies Governor General David Johnston and Dr. Sharon Johnson to discuss the advancement of Canada's mental health community and particularly youth mental health in this country.

"The vast majority of adults living with mental illness experienced signs and symptoms of their illness before the age of eighteen. That means early detection and treatment is fundamental to improving the quality of life for these young Canadians and placing them on a path to recovery," said Dr. Cohen. "The federal government has a leadership role to fulfill here, and we hope CAMIMH's efforts on the Hill today will encourage policy makers to take on a more proactive approach to improving the mental health of Canadians everywhere."

Today's activities and events are taking place as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012, an annual national initiative organized by CAMIMH which runs from September 30 - October 6. MIAW's purpose is to raise awareness on the importance of mental health for the overall health of all Canadians and to facilitate a much-needed national conversation about mental illness.

Mental Illness Awareness Week would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Bell, RBC Foundation, RX&D, and Janssen. To find out more about MIAW or other CAMIMH initiatives, please visit

Established in 1998, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is an alliance of national mental health organizations comprised of health care providers and organizations representing persons with mental illness and their families and caregivers. CAMIMH's mandate is to ensure that mental health is placed on the national agenda so that persons with a lived experience of mental illness and their families receive appropriate access to care and support.


For further information:

Kalene Tilson, Mental Illness Awareness Week Organizing Committee
Tel: 613-233-8906 Email:

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