Mental Health

Canadian stamp mental health 1

Date of issue: October 6, 2008
Printer: Lowe-Martin Company
Design: Paul Haslip (HM&E)

Mental Health

Because it is sometimes misunderstood and often difficult to deal with, mental illness has been stigmatized and sometimes called the “invisible disease”. Despite this, it is one of the most important conditions in our society: about one in five Canadians will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. To help address the issue, Canada Post adopted it as its cause of choice in 2008 and created the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health.

Over the following years, it issued four specially designed semi-postal stamps. (The cost of a semi-postal includes a surcharge in addition to its face value. For the mental health stamps, this was 10 cents.) The income derived from the sale of the stamps was used by the Foundation to provide patient support and fund mental health research. At the end of the first three years, it had raised almost one million dollars.

The Stamps

The first stamp in the series depicts a person speaking into a megaphone, metaphorically broadcasting the plight of those with mental illness. A background of dark clouds on the left and sunshine on the right suggests bringing the issue out of the shadows into the light where it can be addressed directly. The +10 at the bottom indicates the Foundation surcharge. The circles on the first-day cover represent people who are healthy (colored) and who are afflicted by mental illness (gray and somewhat out of focus).

Canadian stamp First-day cover mental health with circles

Canadian mental health stamp 2

Date of issue: September 14, 2009
Printer: Lowe-Martin Company
Design: Signals Design Group

The 2009 stamp shows a stylized head containing a tree that resembles a brain. The tree symbolizes health, growth, and maturity, all facets of life potentially attainable by people with mental illness. The purple path represents progression towards a fulfilled life. Above, the sun shines through broken clouds, suggesting hope. The background sky is green rather than blue, to underline the fact that people with mental illness may perceive the world differently than those who are unaffected.

Canadian mental health stamp 03

Date of issue: September 7, 2010
Printer: Lowe-Martin Company
Design: Paprika Montreal

The 2010 stamp depicts a small person looking up into the distance. The lines that flow through the stamp cross over one another, representing a troubled mind; however, they seem to move toward a sense of peace as they rise up the mountain. A tree – symbolizing growth and renewal – is present at the mountain’s summit. But, in order to attain it, the individual has a steep slope to climb.

Canadian mental health stamp 4

Date of issue: September 6, 2011
Printer: Lowe-Martin Company
Design: Miriane Majeau

The 2011 stamp shows puzzle pieces that seem to be falling, in both the background and on top of a side-turned head. In the words of the designer: “Dealing with mental health issues can be like putting a puzzle together … as you find the right pieces and connect them in the right way, something beautiful and whole is revealed.”

The stamp is unusual in that it was the winning entry in a Canada Post contest in which the Canadian public was asked to submit ideas for the stamp’s design. Five finalists were selected from approximately 300 entries and presented to the public for their vote. Portions of all five designs are featured on the first-day cover.

First-day cover stamp mental health


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