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Not long ago, a woman who had overcome a mental health crisis wrote a letter to a younger version of herself, detailing the challenges she would face.

“Your grades will drop. You will actually get into academic probation,” Daisy Martinez wrote on social media. “You will get very depressed and start doing drugs. You will attempt suicide a few times, but this will [lead you] to receive help.”

Mental health advocates hope more people will follow her lead in speaking openly about mental health challenges.

For that reason, they are promoting Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which will take place for a week starting Oct. 3. This year, the focus will be on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness (SMI).

  1. Mental Health Matters: World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10

  2. Mental Health Matters: Getting ready for a return to school

  3. Mental Health Matters: Self-care is essential for our pandemic weariness

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, defines an SMI as “a mental, behavioural, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.”

Schizophrenia is considered a serious mental illness as are bipolar disorder, major depression, and other disorders that cause serious functional impairment.

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Experts estimate about five percent of adults in the United States suffer from serious mental illness. That number is roughly the same in Canada, where one in five Canadians experience mental illness or addiction in any given year.

The vast majority …….


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