With a team of friends and supporters, I am stepping up to defeat mental illness!
The CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health challenge is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for Canadians living with mental illness.
I took the #OneBraveNight challenge because I want to inspire hope for people living with mental illness now – and to defeat mental illness. By making a donation to my One Brave Night, you are helping CAMH improve access to care, conduct research to find better treatments, and build more spaces for healing.
This is our chance to step up! Please donate generously and help me surpass my fundraising goal.
Please take the time to read my friend Melody's story:
I have spent innumerous nights awake and alone as I've struggled with my own mental illness, and also many nights awake standing by friends who needed support and care as they struggled with their own mental illness.
I have gone through cancer and other physical illnesses, and when I was ill with that and needed help there was almost always someone willing to come over/stay up/stay with me to support me, but when I was ill from mental illness and my life was even more at risk than it was when I had cancer, I was often alone. People will tell me "I don't have the training to help you." when I'm suffering from mental illness, and yet they didn't have any 'training' to help me when I had cancer or the flu, or was recovering from surgery. It makes me sad when there is so little support for people suffering from mental illness, but there is so much support for people who have lost a loved one, or who have cancer or another chronic debilitating illness, or who have a new baby.
I want to do this to point out that mental illness steals just as many lives and disables just as many people as other illnesses do, and there is so little fundraising done and so little public education and social acceptance of it compared to physical illnesses. This is my chance to fight for all the family and friends I have who have suffered just as much or more than I did when I had cancer, and have received 1% of the help and support I did during that time from my family and friends.
I don't think people realized that when I had cancer it wasn't the worst thing I've gone through. Even though the doctors gave me such a poor prognosis for recovery I was still at less of a risk of dying than I had been in previous years. I have attempted suicide over 20 times in my life (though not in the last decade) and even when people knew about that no one seemed to care that I could just dissapear one of those times and never be seen again. Yet when I had cancer and my prognosis for recovery got so bad, I had people coming out of the woodwork wanting to see me and praying for me and worrying that I would die. I was grateful for the support I received during that time of my life, but constantly confused as to why suddenly people cared so much that they'd come and help clean my house, make me meals, take me to appointments, and even did a fundraiser so I could go on a dream trip. I am so grateful for those things because they made a difference to my whole life, and yet I feel so badly that the other members of my family who were suffering/are suffering from debilitating mental illness were barely given a passing glance.
If more people took the time to go over and help clean up someone's house who was suffering from severe depression, made them meals, helped them get to appointments, and maybe even organized some support so that they could have something they never expected like a trip to the mountains, or a personalized advent calendar of presents for each day of December (because holidays are the most difficult and painful times for most people who suffer from mental illness), or a surprise check to help cover a phone bill overdue or to pay for some groceries, maybe a shopping trip to buy some new clothes, I think there would be a huge decrease in the number of people who are suffering from mental illness and more people who are learning to accept it and live with it better.
No one asks to have mental illness, just like no one asks to get older and more broken down physically or asks to get cancer. Mental illness affects 1 out of 5 people. That's almost equal to how many people are affected by cancer and yet very few new centers and new programs are built for treating mental illness; public services already created are mostly poor quality with low rates of successful treatment/cures and yet very little is being done in terms of research and training because there are not much funds for mental illness as compared to cancer research and training. I hope to make a small difference in that, but I am someone who suffers from mental illness and lives on the outskirts of society already.
I have little I can offer, so I need your help. Please help me change how society treats mental illness, and help the CAMH be able to offer better services to those like me who are trying to get better and beat this life threatening illness. Fight for my sisters. Fight for my extended family. Fight for your friends and neighbours. Fight for yourself. Tell your story. Your struggle with mental illness is just as important as someone's physical illness. Maybe society doesn't believe that yet, but I do. Lets all do what we can to help reduce the suffering. Please.
Stepping up is my way of inspiring hope. And we all need your help.