Charity Highlight | Canadian Mental Health Association

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we are highlighting the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in light of the one year anniversary of Robin Williams succumbing to his mental illness and committing suicide and the millions of others who suffer from mental illness.

The CMHA boasts some impressive numbers, helping over “…100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in 120 communities.” These are numbers that give hope to the millions of Canadians coping with or helping someone live with mental health struggles.

Most of us know someone who has had or is currently living with mental illness(es). This is due to a combination of factors such as genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors.

The thing about mental illness is that it truly does not discriminate. Your income or education level can not guarantee positive mental health throughout your life. In fact, 20% of Canadians will personally experience mental illness in their lifetime.

The CMHA advocates for mentally well people in a healthy society, and that is something that is currently in dire need. We still have a long way to travel before arriving at a place where all Canadians are receiving the support they need.

Some staggering statistics about mental health (from CMHA’s website):

  • In Canada, only 1 in 5 children who need mental health services receive them
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-24 year old Canadians; 4,000 lives are ended prematurely in Canada due to suicide every year
  • Men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women
  • in 1998, the total cost of mental illness was $7.9 billion with an additional $6.3 billion in time off work for depression or distress not treated by the healthcare system

The CMHA helps in so many ways, recently by hosting “Ride Don’t Hide“, a Father’s Day charity bike ride that raised $1.1 million for mental health. There are also other initiatives the CMHA leads, such as advocating for changes in government policy or providing training to individuals and workplaces to effectively support those living with mental illness.

Mental illness is not something that can be turned off. The same way you can’t just ignore cancer or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a mental illness is not something to be downplayed and treated in a way that it is not a real issue.

As Canadians move toward a future where mental illness becomes destigmatized and our friends and loved ones receive the support they need, we should always remember that it’s organizations like the CMHA we have to thank.

To learn more about how you can donate your time or money, visit their website here.

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