On Saturday, September 9 Providence Care and VOCEC (Voices, Opportunities & Choices Employment Club) were two of over 40 mental health partners invited to the Governor General’s Masquerade for Mental Health. The event was one of acceptance, learning and solidarity.
Health partners set up interactive booths where people could engage in conversations about mental health in a safe and supportive space. It was a truly humbling experience to see individuals of all ages come together with the common goal to eliminate the stigma around mental health and to bring these conversations into the open.
While statistics show that 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime, 5 in 5 Canadians have mental health. For many years mental health and mental illness have been considered taboo topics; however, in recent years campaigns such as Bell Let’s Talk have brought these topics, and these conversations, to a national stage.
Her Excellency, Sharon Johnston said, “I was proud to be able to encourage participants to take off their masks in a safe space.” Whether you have a mental illness or not, it is likely that mental health and mental illness have touched your life in one way or another. When we begin to normalize mental health as something that each of us has we can begin the real work of eliminating stigma and helping those who need our help.