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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mental Health Promotion - Bell and Clara Hughes partner for all our benefit

Happy Valentine's Day.  What better day to speak to the antithesis of positive emotion as a reminder that we are not all so privileged to enjoy the health benefits of mental wellbeing and love on a daily basis. 

The surge of mental health promotion activity deserves recognition and acknowledgement to companies like Bell and individuals like Clara Hughes that have taken up the cause http://letstalk.bell.ca/ .  The normalization of acceptance of mental diseases has taken decades of work and still requires much more effort, but progress is being made.  It is not limited to back room discussions and hidden into the back pages of papers. Its front and centre on Dr. Oz, the View and in magazines.  

The message is Its okay to be diabetic, disabled or depressed;  Sjogren,  schizophrenic or sarcoidosis;    Anxious, Addison’s or anaphylactic.   At least it is a start of an inclusion message.  Considerable work still needs to be done on normalizing therapies, seeking treatment, and decriminalizing mental illness. 
We have progressed immensely in the past few decades on a road that speaks to inclusion and normalization, however the journey is far from complete.  Openness and the willingness to engage in challenging conversations will continue to smooth the path.

Which of us has not personally experienced a family member or friend suffer from a mental illness?  If honestly are not aware of anyone, you are in a small minority of the population.  One in five Canadians will suffer a bout of mental illness so we all have a role to play in normalizing the illness process.   2002 report on mental illness in Canada

The first place to clean up may be the health care systems itself.   Mental health therapies have increasingly been isolated from other components of health.  Documentation sealed in confidentiality even when diagnoses of greater consequence are increasingly transparent between health providers who collaborate on efforts to provide a holistic therapeutic environment for chronic communicable diseases, genetic disorders, multiple disabilities.  

The second place is for public health authorities to take a lead role in acknowledging the burden of illness carried by Canadians as integral to the public health control efforts of the country.  Rhetoric has been long over the years, but actions led by public health are limited.   Mental health promotion in Canada - Drphealth October 2011

In the meantime, the efforts of Canada’s most medaled athlete and others who have come forward to speak to their personal stories and experiences needs to be commended. Bell and other utilities have  become corporate models in the messaging.    Other public  leaders with personal experience should be welcomed to the podium to share their stories and come out from the shadows.  .  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dr. P - I too was very happy to see Clara Hughes' tv ad about depression awareness. I've lived with depression for more than 35 of my 50 years, and - except for my mom - my family has never been comfortable discussing it. We were recently all together for a reunion and Clara's commercial came on. Silence. Then a question "Both summer and winter medals? I didn't know that".

    Oh well. Any amount of increased awareness is better than nothing.