Monday 1 October 2012

"For a Limited Time Only!"

"If you don't stand for something then you stand for nothing."

October is breast cancer awareness month. It's a movement that Evelyn Lauder, then head of the Estee Lauder makeup and skincare empire, started about 20 years ago in order to raise awareness of this awful disease. Arguably, it has become one of the most successful health awareness campaigns next to the red AIDS ribbon.

There was a time when women were ashamed and embarrassed to have this disease. There was also a time when women didn't know the signs of the disease or what they could do to reduce their chances of being afflicted. Thankfully, in no small part to Ms. Lauder's amazing work and dedication, more women are diagnosed early and lives have been saved.

Guess what? In October another vital awareness campaign is taking place in Canada: Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Did you know that?

Sadly, no cute coloured ribbons or products benefitting the cause - just a few of us with "boots on the ground", trying to spread the word. So what's the word? Mental illness kills. Simple as that.

I am a survivor of 20 plus years of mental illness. I know the reality of the pain, the stigma, and the discrimination that goes along with this disease. But I also know that the sunshine always comes after the rain, if you wait for it, and that difficult times build resilience. I also know that although the mental and physical pain may not be avoidable, the stigma and discrimination certainly are.

The stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness are kind of the last frontier - the last remaining socially acceptable taboos. I refuse to accept that. Mental illness is just that: illness. The fact that people suffer silently, go untreated, and die is not acceptable. Is that acceptable to you?

This week I will be blogging daily about different mental health topics. My hope is for two things to happen. One, I would like to hear your stories. Have you suffered? Do you know someone who has? Please share your experiences or questions. Second, please help to eliminate the stigma and discrimination. You can do it in the following ways, courtesy of Partners for Mental Health:
  1. Pay more attention to your own mental health and well-being
  2. Support a loved one/friend/co-worker who is living with a mental health issue or illness
  3. Challenge the negative stereotypes and attitudes that exist around mental illness
  4. Contact your elected officials to help influence policy that will improve the mental health system
  5. Volunteer your time to support the mental health cause
  6. Donate/fundraise for the mental health cause
I pledge to make that happen. How about you?
KB xo



  1. dave Procter20 September 2012 06:01
    not myself today is no longer being supported it seems. Here is what they told me.

    Dear Dave,

    Thank you for getting in touch with us and for expressing your interest in the Not Myself Today campaign and microsite. While we continue to accept pledges in support of mental health, mood map pins and mental health stories on the Not Myself Today site, we are no longer actively promoting or updating the site as the campaign ended in May.

    Please visit our main website,, or follow us through social media (Facebook:; Twitter @partnersformh) for updates on our campaigns and activities.

    As well, we invite you to sign up for our e-newsletter to receive action alerts on opportunities to get involved in the mental health movement:

    Thank you for your support of mental health! We look forward to connecting with you further on our upcoming campaigns!

    Best wishes,
    The Partners for Mental Health tea


  2. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for letting me know - I didn't realize the plegde link didn't work once you got to the site. Yes, they have a new campaign about to start in a few days (stay tuned - I'll have lots of info about that!).


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