TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) kicks off today its 61st annual Mental Health Week, May 7 - 13, 2012. In support of its Mental Health Week (MHW), CMHA is holding coast-to-coast events and activities in its 120 plus locations in communities across Canada.
CMHA created MHW 61 years ago to raise awareness of mental illness in Canada. Mental Health Week is now an annual national public awareness week that takes place during the first week in May and encourages people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health and mental illness.
Mental Health For All is this year's MHW theme because mental health is important for all Canadians and mental illness can touch anyone. The CMHA is encouraging Canadians to continue to talk and learn more about maintaining and improving mental health and its connection to their overall health during MHW 2012.
Mental Health Week 2012 will focus on five mental health topics, including: Kids Have Stress Too; Workplace Mental Health; Resiliency at Home, at School, at Work; Stigma and Discrimination; and Mental Health is Everyone's Concern.
"The CMHA has been a champion for mental health since 1918 and has played an important role in improving people's understanding of mental health and mental illness. We work to improve mental health for all and reduce the discrimination and stigma associated with mental health problems," says Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA.
"While we encourage Canadians to talk openly about their mental health anytime during the year, Mental Health Week is the perfect time for people to learn about practical ways to maintain and improve their mental health and talk about mental illness," says Coleridge. "It's a time to reflect on our attitudes and behaviors towards people living with mental health problems in our schools, workplaces, and at all levels in our society."
Many CMHA community activities taking place across the country during MHW offer Canadians practical ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. CMHA's BC Division, for example, is launching the "Living Life to the Full" program. Originally developed by a British psychiatrist, this 12-hour, eight week course helps people improve their moods, their feelings and their behaviours by offering practical advice and suggestions for making life more liveable.
Mental Health Week 2012 is generously supported by Bell and Medicine Shoppe Canada.
"Bell is pleased to support Mental Health Week and continues to help raise awareness about mental illness, building on our commitment through Bell Let's Talk to fight stigma and improve access to mental health care in communities across Canada," says Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative.
Medicine Shoppe Canada is announcing during MHW, a partnership with CMHA designed to better support their pharmacy customers across Canada who are managing and recovering from mental illness and addictions.
"We look forward to our partnership with the CMHA and the opportunity to better help people and their families deal with mental illness," says Murray Whitby, Vice President, Operations and Marketing, Medicine Shoppe Canada.
Community event listings, MHW themed fact sheets and other helpful mental health information can be found on CMHA's Mental Health Week website at www.mentalhealthweek.ca
About Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
CMHA was founded in 1918 and is one of the oldest voluntary health organizations in Canada. Each year, CMHA provides direct service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in over 120 communities. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience and support recovery from mental illness. Please visit cmha.ca
For further information:
Senior Communications and Media Advisor, CMHA, National