It’s Time for ACT!ON Mental Health: CAMIMH Announces the Faces of Mental Illness for 2014

Ottawa, Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health announces the five Canadians selected for the 12th annual Faces of Mental Illness campaign
The Faces of Mental Illness Know, it’s Time for ACT!ON Mental Health for 2014

Ottawa, July 8, 2014 - Today, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) announced the five Canadians selected for the 12th annual Faces of Mental Illness campaign. CAMIMH received more than 50 unique nominations from across the country.

“The Faces of Mental Illness are incredibly brave and inspiring individuals,” commented Florence Budden, CAMIMH Campaign Chair 2014. “Each one of them has a unique story and they are all willing to speak openly and honestly about their experiences with mental illness to help others who might be struggling silently.”

Throughout the next year, the five Faces will take part in events across the country to raise awareness about mental health and to eliminate stigma. Each one of them embody the 2014 Mental Illness Awareness Week theme ACT!ON Mental Health.

The Faces of Mental Illness campaign is sponsored by Bell as part of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative. The stories of the Faces of Mental Illness will be featured on posters, postcards and bookmarks distributed to Canadians across the country. Also, they will be featured in a national public service announcements aired across Canada as well as mini-documentaries which will be shared with parliamentarians during a marquee Breakfast on Parliament Hill. The participation of the Faces in a national media outreach campaign is another important element. The Faces share their stories and carry on the vital mental health conversation in this country.

This year’s Faces of Mental Illness 2014 are:

Kathleen Dugas - A mother of two from Montreal, Quebec, Kathleen is now publicly sharing her story to break down the barriers and prejudices that prevent people from seeking treatment. Kathleen doesn’t hesitate to talk about her experience with mental illness, or her recovery. She is open and honest to help demystify mental illness for all Canadians.

Mark Henick - As a front line mental health counsellor, Mark knows firsthand that stigma and systematic barriers exist when dealing with mental illness. Hailing from a small town in Atlantic Canada, Mark was discouraged from discussing his experience with mental illness publicly. Mark successfully battled this stigma and now speaks to thousands following a very successful presentation through TEDxToronto about his experience with suicide.

Lindsay Hill - A lawyer from Toronto, Ontario, Lindsay is a passionate advocate for mental health. She successfully advocated to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for platform level distress lines in subway stations which resulted in the ground-breaking TTC/ Distress Centres/ Bell Canada ‘Crisis Link’ program. Lindsay now sits on the Board of the Distress Centres to further her advocacy work.

Jack Saddleback - As a proud Cree Two-Spirit Transgender man, Jack uses his voice to push for systemic change and diversity in mental health. Jack works with a number of organizations, including sitting on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Youth Council. Jack strongly believes that all Canadians have mental health and that we owe it to ourselves to open up and talk about it.

Aidan Scott - An Idea Architect, Aidan attributes much of his recovery to community services such as Kids Help Phone. As an abuse survivor, Aidan is living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He wants others to know that the road to recovery isn’t always straightforward, but you can get there. To help others in the community he founded SpeakBOX, a developing program inspired by the voices of youth and young people. SpeakBOX is creating a synergy between mental and physical health to improve client experiences and outcomes.

Canadians can now order free posters, postcards, bookmarks and silicone bracelets featuring the stories of the Faces of Mental Illness for 2014, while engaging Canadians in a public conversation about mental health.

“We are proud to share these stories through the Faces of Mental Illness campaign. It is CAMIMH’s hope that by hearing from people who have experienced mental illness and found recovery, we can eliminate the stigma that persists and also convince legislators to make mental health a priority,” concluded Budden.

To learn more about the campaign, or to order campaign materials, please visit CAMIMH would once again like to thank their generous sponsors who make this campaign possible: Bell Let’s Talk, Lundbeck Canada Inc., The Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D).

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 more information, please contact:
Kalene DeBaeremaeker
Tel: 613-233-8906