By Antonia Kowalewski
One out of five British Columbians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives. Whether these people are friends, family members or ourselves, mental illness is a topic that affects us all. How can something so widespread be so stigmatized?
Throughout history, there has been a veil of fear dressed between those with mental illness and those without.
Historically, admitting you had a mental illness could land you in a mental asylum where you would experience incarceration and perhaps even torture, and fear of this is understandable.
What many people don’t realize is that those on the other side of the bars were just as scared, ridden with the fear of what is different. Society has a bad track record of fearing things outside of the “norm.”
In the 21st century, as we re-examine many of the traditional rules of society, it’s high time to get past our fear of mental illness.
This Saturday, Care-2-Share 2016 seeks to be the first step in the process.
Principally organized by Monique Sekhon, a Reynolds grad currently studying Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, the goal of this event is to raise awareness about mental health and the resources available in our community.
The event will feature opportunities to share personal experiences as well as to discuss mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.
A resource fair with live music, presentations and food will provide a display of the Island’s best mental health resources. Whether you suffer from mental illness, know someone who does or are simply curious about it, you can expect to leave inspired and with new knowledge.
All donations will go directly towards funding the Supported Education Program at Island Community Mental Health, which provides adults experiencing mental illness issues with the opportunity to pursue further education. It’s time to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Care-2-Share 2016 is the perfect place to start. Join us this Saturday, Aug. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Island Community Mental Health, 125 Skinner St.
– Antonia Kowalewski is going into Grade 11 at Reynolds secondary school this fall and is a regular volunteer and student activist, including her involvement with Reynolds’ successful Pink Shirt Day in February.