Meet the 5 Canadians featured in the 2018 Faces of Mental Illness campaign

Ottawa, Tuesday, October 2, 2018

From October 1-7, people across Canada will celebrate Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which includes a national public outreach campaign to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

Presented by Bell Let’s Talk, the Faces of Mental Illness campaign features the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness, the challenges they face, and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment.

Meet the 2018 Faces of Mental Illness:

Shania Pruden (Winnipeg, MB) – Shania is an Indigenous rights activist, blogger and youth motivational speaker living with OCD and depression. She started her blog to raise awareness about Indigenous rights in Canada and is now focused on writing about mental health, truth and reconciliation, and youth empowerment.

B Adair (Hardisty, AB) – After a number of traumatic calls as a paramedic in a rural community, B began struggling with PTSD, anxiety and depression in addition to facing the challenges of coming out as transgender and living in an isolated community where mental health services were not adequate. Now in recovery from his mental illness, he takes pride in being an advocate for people in rural areas who struggle with their identities and mental illness.

Frédéric Tremblay (Québec, QC) – OCD has been part of Frédéric’s life since adolescence. His mental illness spiraled out of control for a decade starting in his late-20s. Frédéric sought treatment from psychologists and psychiatrists and now works to help people living with OCD cope with the disorder and lead a stable life.

Sylvie Mercier (Montréal, QC) – Sylvie began experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder later in life and it took her some time to recognize and accept she needed support. Her diagnosis and path to recovery was challenging and took a toll on her family. Sylvie now lives in recovery and continues to work in health and wellness.

Julie Keddy (Digby, NS) – Not knowing why she was having negative spiraling thoughts for much of her life, it was a relief for Julie when she was diagnosed with anxiety, OCD and depression. With counselling and medication, she now lives in recovery. As a teacher in a rural community, Julie helps provide support for students struggling with mental illness.

MIAW is an initiative of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). Established in 1998, as an alliance of national organizations whose activities span the broad continuum of mental health, CAMIMH’s mission is to promote and facilitate the development, adoption and implementation of a national action plan on mental illness and mental health.The focus of this year’s CAMIMH campaign is a push for mental health parity.