Faces of Mental Illness
MIAW 2020 will be 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.
Established in 1998, CAMIMH is an alliance of national organizations whose activities span the broad continuum of mental health. They represent: consumers and their families; health care and social service providers; professional associations; and community and research organizations. Together, they constitute a vibrant network of national, provincial and community-based organizations dedicated to serving the mental health needs of the people of Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast. CAMIMH’s mission is to promote and facilitate the development, adoption, and implementation of a national action plan on mental illness and mental health.
CAMIMH represents one voice for collective mental health.
- 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.Questions?
Please contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (613) 233-8906.
The Faces nominations have now closed. If you would like to know when nominations open next year, please sign up for our e-newsletter
Current Faces of Mental IllnessJillian Brown
Jillian is an adventure photographer who lives with PTSD. She dealt with numerous traumatic experiences, but through counselling, fitness, and nature she was able to heal and now shares her story to help others. Jillian has shifted her mindset from thinking of PTSD as a stigma, to using it as empowerment. Perseverance – Trust – Strength – Determination have now become the words of Jillian’s PTSD.Anita Manley
At 43 years old, Anita lost contact with all of her friends and family and found herself living in her car. Anita struggled with schizo-affective bipolar disorder for many years and was hospitalized seven times beginning in her early 20's. Since receiving the right treatment in 2011, Anita has volunteered with the Women’s Resource Centre at The Royal and co-created a writing group to support other women. She is also a patient advisor for mental health issues and speaks to many audiences to help reduce the stigma surrounding psychosis.Donovan Taplin
Raised in a rural island community, Donovan struggled with depression and anxiety since they were a teenager and had limited access to mental health care. The most crucial element to Donovan's successes in recovery has been finding a sense of belonging as a queer person. In 2013, Donovan became the youngest, and one of the first openly queer people to hold municipal office in the province and lead their Town’s first recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week and Pride Month. Donovan also served on the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and is currently Vice-Chair of the committee developing Canada’s national standard for post-secondary student mental health, the first of its kind in the world.Onika Dainty
Onika has spent a total of one year of her life in psychiatric institutions due to psychotic episodes brought on by Bipolar Affective Disorder 1. Growing up in a household that did not discuss mental health, it took Onika years to seek out the right treatment. Today, she hosts a podcast, DaintyDysh that discusses mental health issues and aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.Mélissa Néron
Since childhood, Mélissa knew she was different. Her emotions were very overwhelming and to the extreme. As she grew older she made several suicide attempts and it was not until she was in her mid-20s that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with exacerbation and ADD. She is currently studying to become a nurse and wants to show others that even with a mental illness, anything is possible.
Our annual Faces Public Service Announcements.