One in five Canadians will experience mental illness

Events are being planned throughout Mental Health Week

Everyone’s mental health should be celebrated, said Paul McCracken, employment specialist at Centennial Place (CP), who is hoping the community will do just that during Mental Health Week May 5-9.

“Whether things are going well for you, or if you’ve recovered from a mental illness, it’s something to celebrate,” McCracken explained.

This year’s theme to celebrate, connect, and grow reaches out to everyone.

One in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, and the more people who are educated on the issue, the better, said McCracken, adding people who are diagnosed with the condition are typically people with jobs and a home, although some may also struggle with addiction and poverty.

For example, people with depression tend to isolate themselves, feel trapped or have social anxiety, he explained. “One way for us to help is to reach out to people.”

CP serves more than 80 clients. Everyone who accesses the services has had a mental health diagnosis from a doctor or another health care professional.

“Centennial Place is a community where you can learn how to get well, connect with others, hear other people’s stories and learn how they deal with their problems,” said McCracken.

People need to overcome the stigma attached to mental health, he added. “We don’t discuss a person’s diagnosis. We concentrate on a person’s strength.”

Events are being planned throughout the week to celebrate mental health, beginning with an introduction to mindfulness and meditation on May 5 at 11 a.m., and ending with a barbecue and open house on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Other key events during the week include a wellness walk and rally and a mental wellness forum.

The Wellness Walk and Rally begins at 11 a.m. at Mission Hills Mall. Participants will carry signs to promote mental health and end its stigma as they walk up and down the Lougheed Highway.

The wellness forum, It’s My Life, takes place at 7 p.m. at the library. A former Mission cafe owner, Briant Grossmuck, will be one of the speakers sharing his personal story about mental illness and his journey to recovery. He now heads up the community kitchen at CP and teaches others about health eating and safe food practices.

For a list of events taking place, visit centennialplacemission.ca. All events are open to the public.

Centennial Place is located at 33032 11 Ave. For more information call 604-820-6355.

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