Mental Illness Awareness Week

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Each year, millions of Canadians face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. That is why each year, during the first week of October, people across the country are encouraged to raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). The theme of this year's MIAW is "What I Wish I Had Known", which focuses on the power of lived experience.

Spirituality and faith can play a vital role in mitigating the effects of mental health and coming to a deeper understanding and connection with it. October 5th is further marked as the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding, and October 10th is recognized as World Mental Health Day.

Historically, tension between religion and psychiatry has been high. In this paper, Simon Dein challenges the common assumption that religious beliefs are largely irrelevant to clinical psychiatric practice, and further suggests that the presence of religious faith can positively affect mental health by increasing feelings of hope, meaning, and life satisfaction.

While faith communities and personal spirituality can be protective factors for mental health, they are no guarantee that mental illness will not arise in one's lifetime. But if or when it does, having a supportive community and a sense of greater meaning and purpose can ease the struggle.

Check out our MORSL guide of Mental Health Supports for Students in the Face of COVID-19. In addition, SSMU has a concise list of Mental Health Resources that range from on-campus supports, community supports, and student groups.

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