It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week 2017

Ottawa , Monday, October 2, 2017

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada, including Bell Let’s Talk.

This year, MIAW’s theme is Living in Recovery and Taking Action, and the five new Faces of Mental Illness will lead the campaign as they take part in events to educate Canadians about the realities of living with mental illness, and the effects that mental health has in the lives of all Canadians. The 2017 Faces of Mental Illness are:

Rachel Beazley – After diagnoses of OCD, Tourette Syndrome, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and Depression, Rachel began her advocacy work at her high school, making presentations to students and staff. She has since continued her work at the University of Winnipeg, and has expanded her platform to Instagram and a personal website. Rachel has also published a book about her experiences.

Martin Binette – For more than 20 years, Martin has been living with a mood disorder and general anxiety. Since going public with his illnesses, Martin has started a mental health blog which aims to help end the prejudices and stigma surrounding mental illness.

Chris Nihmey – After being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and OCD, Chris was forced to end his career as a teacher and chose to hide his illness for a number of years. While working on his healing through numerous therapies, Chris began to write a memoir which has since inspired him to launch a new career as a writer and speaker, addressing topics of recovery and fighting stigma.

Brian Rose – For years, Brian coped with his Schizophrenia by using drugs and alcohol. However, after being found not criminally responsible in the death of his grandmother, Brian is dedicated to living a healthy and meaningful life in her honour. Since first sharing his story in 2014, Brian has been speaking publicly about his experiences with his illness, in the hopes that sharing his story will help others who are living with complex mental illnesses.

Kharoll-Ann Souffant – Kharoll-Ann grew up in a family that did not openly discuss mental illness, and it wasn’t until the beginning of adulthood that she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after living with depressive symptoms since childhood. Since deciding to share her story publicly in 2015, Kharoll-Ann has spoken at many events and received a number of awards.

To learn more about MIAW which runs from October 1 to 7 or the Faces of Mental Illness, please visit

Pictured from left to right :
Seated – Chris Nihmey, Kharoll-Ann Souffrant
Standing – Martin Binette, Brian Rose, Rachel Beazley