Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) 2019

Mental Illness Awareness

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.

One of MIAW’s major initiatives is the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Thousands of pieces of MIAW materials featuring the Faces are disseminated to hundreds of organizations across Canada in an effort to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness.

Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness

Faces of Mental Illness 2019

Connections define us – connections to loved ones, our passions and communities. For 1 in 5 Canadians living with mental illness, connections can be the difference between struggling alone and recovering together. 

We are strong, we are connected, Jilian Brown, Anita Manley, Donovan Taplin, Onika Dainty and Mélissa Néron are the Faces of Mental Illness for 2019. Let’s work together treat mental illness like any other illness and forge the connections to ensure everyone can get the help that they need to move forward with their lives. 

To hear their stories of hope and recovery see below:

Jilian Brown

Jilian Brown PTSD mental illness

Jillian is an adventure photographer who lives with PTSD. She dealt with numerous traumatic experiences, but through counselling, fitness, and nature she was able to heal and now shares her story to help others. Jillian has shifted her mindset from thinking of PTSD as a stigma to using it as empowerment. Perseverance – Trust – Strength – Determination has now become the words of Jillian’s PTSD.

Anita Manley

Anita Manley schizo-affective bipolar disorder mental illness

At 43 years old, Anita lost contact with all of her friends and family and found herself living in her car. Anita struggled with schizo-affective bipolar disorder for many years and was hospitalized seven times beginning in her early 20’s. Since receiving the right treatment in 2011, Anita has volunteered with the Women’s Resource Centre at The Royal and co-created a writing group to support other women. She is also a patient advisor for mental health issues and speaks to many audiences to help reduce the stigma surrounding psychosis.

Donovan Taplin

Donovan Taplin Depression and Anxiety

Raised in a rural island community, Donovan struggled with depression and anxiety since they were a teenager and had limited access to mental health care. The most crucial element to Donovan’s successes in recovery has been finding a sense of belonging as a queer person. In 2013, Donovan became the youngest, and one of the first openly queer people to hold municipal office in the province and lead their Town’s first recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week and Pride Month. Donovan also served on the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and is currently Vice-Chair of the committee developing Canada’s national standard for post-secondary student mental health, the first of its kind in the world.

Onika Dainty

Onika Dainty Bipolar Affective Disorder mental illness

Onika has spent a total of one year of her life in psychiatric institutions due to psychotic episodes brought on by Bipolar Affective Disorder 1. Growing up in a household that did not discuss mental health, it took Onika years to seek out the right treatment. Today, she hosts a podcast, DaintyDysh that discusses mental health issues and aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Mélissa Néron

Mélissa Néron Bipolar Disorder and ADD

Since childhood, Mélissa knew she was different. Her emotions were very overwhelming and to the extreme. As she grew older she made several suicide attempts and it was not until she was in her mid-20s that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with exacerbation and ADD. She is currently studying to become a nurse and wants to show others that even with a mental illness, anything is possible.

Support Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)

Mental Illness Awareness Week runs exclusively on funding from their sponsors, partners and contributors. You or your organization can make a difference by making a contribution to the MIAW campaign by going to Camimh’s website.

HPV Prevention Week – 6 Things to Know About HPV

HPV Prevention Week - 6 Things to Know About HPV

Written by Jean Fourie on October 2, 2019

HPV Prevention Week is put on on behalf of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Here are 6 things you need to know about the Human Papillomavirus or HPV for short

6 Things to know about HPV

#1 HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world

Here in Canada 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians will have been infected by at least one type of HPV during their lifetime – some won’t even realize it.

#2 HPV can affect any sexually active person

HPV doesn’t care how old you are, or if you’re a man or a woman or whether you prefer having sex with a man or a woman.

#3 HPV is highly contagious

HPV can be spread simply by intimate genital skin contact as well as through vaginal or anal penetration or oral sex.

#4 There are many different types of HPV

Some types can cause anal, genital or mouth warts, or more serious conditions like pre-cancers or cancers of the mouth, throat, cervix, vulva, anus and penis.

#5 The absolute best way to protect yourself is by getting the HPV vaccine

The vaccine has been around for 10 years now, and it’s proven to be safe and decrease rates of HPV infections, genital warts and pre-cancers.

#6 You can further REDUCE your risk of infection or lesions

By limiting your number of sexual partners, always using a condom to reduce the risk of infection, and not smoking. Smoking reduces your body’s ability to fight HPV infection and promotes the cancerous transformation in HPV infected cells.

So to conclude...

If you’re currently sexually active, or if you have been sexually active in the past, or will be in the future, you ARE at risk. Speak to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about getting vaccinated.

To learn more go to, view the infographic below and help us spread the word, not the disease.