Faces of Mental Illness
Current Faces of Mental IllnessKarandeep Gill
Karandeep Gill (Brampton, ON) – Karandeep has struggled with mental health issues since she was 15. At age 24 she was correctly diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type after being hospitalized seven times over the previous decade. Following her last hospitalization for severe paranoia and visual hallucinations, she followed an intensive inpatient and outpatient recovery program that helped her cope. Karandeep shares her recovery journey through talks and her mental health awareness Instagram account (@livinginpeacee_), inspiring others to know that they are not alone in this battle.Caroline Fei-Yeng Kwok
Caroline Fei-Yeng Kwok (Toronto, ON) – With the stress of being a new immigrant and the breakup of a marriage, Caroline was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly after arriving in Canada. Multiple early hospitalizations resulted in social exclusion from her local community whose members considered her an invalid for life. Through the encouragement of understanding mental health professionals and her own research into the concept of recovery, she was able to write two books, Free to Fly: A Story of Manic Depression, and Journeys of Renewed Hope, both of which advocate for mental health awareness. Caroline is a program provider to immigrants of colour survivors at a centre in Toronto and continues to give presentations at hospitals and at national and international conferences on mental health and recovery.Keith Lyon
Keith Lyon (Fredericton, NB) – Experiencing psychosis and paranoia in his 20s, Keith spent 10 years in and out of psychiatric units. Stigma about needing medication and feeling that people didn’t understand him were barriers to his recovery. With the support of his family and close friends, his faith, work and community engagement support, Keith has spent the last several years on a positive path, now working at a local supermarket. Keith proudly shares his experiences with schizophrenia to offer others hope and donates proceeds from his four children’s books to the psychiatric unit that helped him.Lydia Migneault
Lydia Migneault (Longueuil, QC) – Lydia Migneault has lived with mental illness from a very young age, fighting suicidal thoughts. After several years of highs and lows, hospitalizations for suicide attempt, work stoppages, recovery and relapse, she was finally diagnosed with anxiety, borderline personality disorder as well as an eating disorder. Following her diagnosis in 2017, she began speaking openly about her mental illness, which helped her make sense of all these episodes. Thanks to therapy and the support of her family, today she is living a healthy and balanced life on a personal, social and professional level. Lydia is involved in various projects to talk about mental health and giving back to the next generation. She is also a blogger and contributor to a blog which aims to fight against taboos and prejudices towards mental illness and has more than 10,000 subscribers.Nick Petrella
Nick Petrella (Ancaster, ON) – Diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in 2010, Nick initially felt shame and guilt. Over the next five years he saw a dozen different mental health professionals. He finally found a therapist who was able to help him and slowly began his recovery. With the support of his wife, his therapist, his friend at CMHA, his two young daughters and three dogs, Nick lives and breathes mental health awareness to reduce stigma and prove that recovery is possible every day. He proudly educates others and is the co-founder of Mental Health in Motion at Mohawk College where he is a professor.
MIAW 2020 was October 4-10, 2020
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.
One of MIAW’s major initiatives is the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Thousands of pieces of MIAW materials featuring the Faces are disseminated to hundreds of organizations across Canada in an effort to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness.
- What is the Faces Campaign?
CAMIMH has been proud to organize and host the courage of Canadians who have stepped up in determination and in hopes of becoming a Face of Mental Illness. They have come to the campaign with their unique and diverse stories and backgrounds showing Canadians that mental illness has many Faces – faces that are recognizable to us all. CAMIMH’s Faces campaign created the first organized opportunity for Canadians to convene a very public discussion about mental illness; discussion which is critical to creating awareness and decreasing stigma. To stay informed of when the nominations are launched, please sign up for our e-newsletter here.How to nominate a Face?
Self-nominations and nominations for others are welcome. If nominating someone else, please verify that the person you are nominating is agreeable to the nomination. On the nomination form, describe your or their mental health journey. Tell us about what you experienced, what has made your journey difficult and what has made it easier. Tell us where you have been, where you are now and where you hope to go in your journey. Feel free to let us know who or what has helped you in your journey and what, in your view, is critical to recovery when it comes to mental illness.How are the Faces selected?
A selection committee from CAMIMH will review and coordinate the selection of Faces. Consideration will be given not just to the stories told but also to ensuring that as a group, the Faces represent a range of people, mental illnesses and stories from across Canada. A short list of candidates will be developed based on submitted nominations. Those short-listed will then be invited to a telephone meeting. The purpose of the telephone meeting is to ensure that candidates fully understand and are comfortable with the Faces role and to answer any questions they may have.
Our annual Faces Public Service Announcements.