Despite the good intentions of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5 - 11), it’s pretty hard to learn some of the most basic information we need to know about mental illnesses.
Many organizations, including the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) encourage us to take this week to discuss mental illness, but there seems to be a puzzling assumption that we don’t actually have to know much about mental illnesses in order to have meaningful discussions. I’m still looking at the website for links to the early signs of psychosis or any information about schizophrenia.
Although it’s not yet receiving enough national attention, we need to know that in Canada there’s a very effective solution to transforming our collective ignorance. Halifax psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher has been creating a solid approach to educating the public about mental health/mental illness by creating a program focusing on schools.
Already having an impact in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Manitoba, Kutcher’s common sense approach is now being presented in British Columbia. Last week the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education introduced its students and the public to Dr. Kutcher and his Teen Mental Health program.