This national initiative was started in 1992 to educate Canadians on the reality of mental illness. While I think we have come a long way, I still think we have a ways to go.....the stigma of mental illness remains in much of society and those who suffer from mental illness continue to hide from the outside world, through shame and fear (of being misunderstood, of being labelled, of being ostracised...)
You know the expression "you never know what goes on behind closed doors"? I think mental illness is like that - we can never know what goes on in the mind of someone else. The mind of a mentally ill person is often closed to the outside world, and sometimes even to the person themselves. It is closed because we quite simply have no clue what goes on behind the mask they present to the world, whether it is a thin veil, or a locked steel door on a concrete wall. We don't even know how thick the mask is - each person is different.
Mental illness is an unseen illness - there are no distinguishing markings tagging those affected by mental health issues, or a visible scale to advertise how much they struggle to get through the day. Their pain and anguish can be numbing on the inside, yet they look fine on the outside. Their mood swings may be unavoidable, they simply may not know what to do, they may be stuck....
They need the same compassion you would extend to anyone suffering from any other disease, disorder or condition. They need to be supported in their quest for health, and to have space to grow. They need to be free of judgement....
So this week, challenge yourself to be open minded. Remind yourself to "Never judge what you don't understand." And remember that every struggle is different, even if you do think you understand.
For other posts pertaining to mental health, click here (What I'm Thinking About Today - Mental Health) and here (Sunday Snippets - Children's Mental Health).
For resources on mental health or more information visit: