TBRHSC Raises Awareness with Mental Illness Awareness Week

Published Wednesday, December 6, 2023

TBRHSC Raises Awareness with Mental Illness Awareness Week

TBRHSC Raises Awareness with Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 1-7) is an annual, national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

Mental illness affects one out of every five Canadians each year. Further, in Canada an average of 20 people per day die due to opioid overdose. Sadly, more than one in two Canadians are not receiving the help they need.

At Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), the Mental Health and Mental Illness Awareness Committee was formed to raise awareness of mental illness and mental health, and to reduce the stigma around all mental illnesses including substance abuse.

“Mental illness and addiction are so prevalent in Canada, but people don’t like to talk about it,” explained Heather Kozak, Psychological Associate, Community Mental Health, and Mental Illness Awareness Committee Chair, TBRHSC. “That’s why Mental Illness Awareness Week is such an important initiative. The events and activities that we host throughout the week spark a much needed dialogue and help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and addictions in our community.”

Hospital staff, physicians and volunteers had access to events during the week to improve their understanding and reduce the stigma around mental illness.

This included a series of intimate presentations by individuals and their experiences with mental illness.

Margie Uuranian shared her personal experience and knowledge of grief and loss, and talked about the coping skills that helped her through her journey. Shane Powell, from the Andrew Miedema Foundation, shared his personal story of the loss of his friend to suicide that initiated an important conversation surrounding mental health. Madison, a Registered Nurse at TBRHSC, spoke about the loss of her brother to suicide, mental health, and addictions.

In addition to the presentations, staff had the opportunity to gain insight into mental illness by engaging with a panel of health clinicians from TBRHSC, attend an expo where they could learn about a variety of Hospital and community services geared towards mental health, and enjoy roaming carts that delivered information, resources and healthy snacks.





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