Removing the stigma of mental illness

Mental health

The three-hour intensive programme looks at how mental health is defined and considers how individuals can look after their own mental health and well-being.

I'm Eric Chase with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of greater Toledo.

Caparas has been making efforts to talk about mental health and its importance with all ages at Shirakawa School. The combination of living away from home for the first time, their workloads and new friendships may trigger a latent mental health illness.

Thursday morning, they highlighting the importance of children's mental health through special trauma training and art work.

In a report, Social Inclusion of Youth with Mental Health Conditions, the United Nations says 85%-89% of this age group lives in low-income countries, which lack "quality" mental health systems.

"We sometimes use the terms "mental health" and "mental illness" interchangeably", points out Deborah Chenery, executive director for the Alberta south zone of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

"The media and Hollywood don't always help; they often try and over dramatise a mental health condition, giving the character in a TV programme or film extreme symptoms or reactions".

As an older sister to siblings who have struggled with behavioral and mental health issues, Hernandez said bringing awareness to these issues is not only important for the people struggling with them, but for those who can be there to help.

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"I've been in recovery for PTSD for years, but I still get triggered".

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If a mentally ill person keeps the problem buried, then it's likely their lives will fall apart and that will have a pebble effect reaching out to other family members, friends and work colleagues.

Classes rotated through six stations run by the school's social worker, Amanda Caparas, who said staff and eighth-grade volunteers working the stations asked the kids questions related to their general wellness, such as "How are you feeling?"

"I grew up with siblings who went through some of these situations, and they need a support system", Hernandez said, "and as an older sister, I can be that support for my sister and that motivates me to come out and do this for her".

Saturday's event was a step toward hopefully changing that.

"Promoting effective strategies for dealing with mental health issues is hugely important, and we hope that through this partnership we'll be able to promote the excellent work of Mental Health Foundation and Racing Welfare to our audiences both on course and through At The Races".

Aggregate Industries are calling on construction companies to focus on mental health in the workplace after seeing the success their own programme has had on the company's workforce.

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