This year I am participating in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's One Brave Night for Mental Health challenge, which will take place on Friday, April 6, 2018.
This is a challenge to step up to inspire hope for the one in five Canadians that experience mental illness in any given year through raising awareness and donations to support CAMH's Priority Fund. This fund supports CAMH’s areas of greatest need, including innovative research, public awareness efforts, and the ongoing redevelopment of their hospital, including two new buildings dedicated to caring for people with serious mental illness.
Raising awareness and support for CAMH is important to me for so many reasons. As someone who has an anxiety disorder (agoraphobia with panic attacks), I know first-hand the importance of being able to access treatment for my condition. CAMH offers a number of in- and outpatient services for a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction, and mood and anxiety disorders. These services are targeted to specific populations, including youth and the elderly, women, and Indigenous peoples. They also offer support services for the family and friends of individuals with mental health conditions. Access to these services is a matter of life and death for many people. I am proud to raise money that will ensure others are able to access the same services I do in order to live my life.
It’s also important to me to not only raise awareness about mental illness, but to help build understanding, compassion, and support that leads to better lives for people living with mental illness. By now, most people are aware of mental illness—many people have, or know someone who has, struggled with mental health. But in my experience, few people understand these conditions well enough to know how to truly be compassionate toward and support someone with mental health issues in everyday life, be it within families, friendships, relationships, or the workplace. We still have a lot of work to do in order to make the world a place in which people with mental health conditions feel safe, secure, and supported.
I believe this change comes, in part, from people with mental health conditions speaking out and sharing their stories. The more we hear from these people, the more we understand their daily struggles and lived experiences—and how we can help. But most importantly, the more we hear from people with mental health conditions, the more we begin to understand that they are people just like everyone else: people with strengths and weaknesses, people with good days and bad days, people with dreams and fears. We are people who can accomplish so much when we are given the support we need to thrive.
Not everyone can speak freely about their experiences with mental illness. Because I can, I feel as though I have a responsibility to share my story and speak out about the challenges people with mental health conditions face in their everyday lives. That’s why I started writing about my experiences living with agoraphobia at www.thisismylifeonanxiety.com earlier this year. That’s also why for my CAMH One Brave Night challenge, I will be speaking at my work to my colleagues about my experiences with mental illness in the workplace. Please support me in taking on this challenge!
My goal is to raise $500 to support this cause; I will be making a personal donation of 10% of the total amount that I raise. Contributions of any amount help and will be deeply appreciated! Donations can be made online or IRL. You will receive a tax receipt for donations of $10 or more. And if you can’t donate, you can always help by sharing my page!
Thanks for listening, and thank you for your support <3
To learn more about CAMH and the One Brave Night challenge:
One Brave Night: https://give.camh.ca/site/SPageServer/?pagename=obn_landing
FAQs (including on donations): https://give.camh.ca/site/SPageServer/?pagename=obn_faq