In Canada, mental illness is widespread. In fact, “1 in 5 Canadians deals with a mental illness at some point in their life.” Since this is the truth, why are more people not understanding of the prevalence of mental illness (also known as mental disorder) in Canada? One reason is, there is simply not sufficient awareness of these invisible disabilities.
What can we do to increase awareness of mental issues in Canada?
We can become educated about such issues ourself. This week Disability Living will highlight mental disorders, who they affect, how they operate, and how affected individuals can find relief.
What is mental illness?
Mental illness, or mental disorder, is defined as “a mental or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual.” What types of disorders fall under this blanket term of “mental illness”?
While there are many mental disorders, there are a few classifications of them. Some of these groupings include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and eating disorders.
Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Dysthymia all reside under the term “mood disorders.” These disorders can be highly debilitating.
Included in this group are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, and “specific phobias.” Anxiety disorders “affect 12 percent of the population.”
Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, and several other mental illness are included in this category.
Eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Unfortunately, eating disorders are dominant not only in Canada, but the world over.
What is the key to helping Canadians with these illnesses get the help they need?
One of the answers to this question is, remove the stigma from the terms “mental disorder” and “mental illness.” As we mentioned before, becoming aware of mental issues through education is a great way to eliminate stigma.
People are usually afraid of what they do not understand — this is one of the reasons individuals with mental disorders are sometimes avoided or ignored by others.
In contrast to this, once a person gains understanding, he or she is no longer afraid. Free yourself from fear by seeking to understand mental illnesses and encouraging others to do the same. Doing so will help to remove a weight from the shoulders of Canadians with these common invisible disabilities.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Do you feel there is a stigma attached to mental illness in Canada? Why?
Are you willing to try to better understand mental disorders to increase awareness of them?