Peer Support Can Provide What A Doctor Cannot

Kayla Creighton | Posted 11.23.2015 | Canada Living
Kayla Creighton

I've been suffering from a condition called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) for 15 years and I've always found something was missing: peer support. While the disease is quite rare, it does not mean support shouldn't exist for these rare people.

Long-Term Care Is a Struggle for Those Aging With HIV

Karen de Prinse | Posted 09.22.2015 | Canada Living
Karen de Prinse

There is still a common belief that being HIV-positive is a death sentence, when in reality most people now reach the age of retirement, living with what is a serious, long-term illness. These inaccurate beliefs result in stigma and discrimination with often devastating effects.

My Chronic Skin Condition Leaves Scars You Can And Cannot See

Kayla Creighton | Posted 08.31.2015 | Canada Living
Kayla Creighton

Affecting one per cent of the population, CIU causes hives, swelling, pain and itching for absolutely no known reason. The scariest part of this condition is the unpredictability. When will I swell up so much I need to go to the hospital? Will this ever go away? How do I plan my life?

I May Not Look Homeless, But I Am

Street Haven | Posted 08.21.2015 | Canada Living
Street Haven

A lot of people have the perception that shelter life today is for the junkie, the uneducated, the criminal or the battered wife seeking refuge from her abusive partner. In my experience, most of the people I have met in the shelter system are there for a variety of reasons. In the shelter I have met bank tellers, writers, students and even retirees.

Periods Are Finally Making Waves in the Media

Sabrina Rubli | Posted 08.13.2015 | Canada Living
Sabrina Rubli

Menstruation is a natural occurrence in every woman's life, and yet, it is shrouded in some type of feminine mystery. Women will spend about 3,000 days of her life menstruating, and yet almost none talking about it. Girls are often taught from a young age that their cycle is their secret, not something to be openly discussed.

The Media Needs to Address Suicide

Arthur Gallant | Posted 07.30.2015 | Canada Living
Arthur Gallant

In my opinion, the media has a responsibility for helping to push social justice issues forward. While we should always be remembered for how we lived and not how we died we need to call a spade a spade. Let's take away the fear and stigma out of talking about suicide.

How This NGO Is Teaching Girls Taboo Subjects

Sabrina Rubli | Posted 07.28.2015 | Canada Impact
Sabrina Rubli

Talking about sexual and reproductive health with students is always a little bit awkward, even in the best of situations! Having these discussions within a culture that often considers anything related to reproductive health to be taboo can be particularly challenging -- and incredibly important. In rural Tanzania, such topics are rarely discussed. The national curriculum includes the topics of menstruation and reproductive health, but these topics are frequently rushed through, or skipped altogether, by uncomfortable teachers in underfunded, overcrowded schools.

Don't Be Ashamed of Me

Kendra Fisher | Posted 05.11.2015 | Canada Impact
Kendra Fisher

Anger is not a place I like to write from. I despise this state, the energy it takes. I understand the value of counting to 10, of being mindful and r...

Why Canada's African, Caribbean and Black Communities Are Most Affected by HIV and AIDS

Tsion Demeke Abate | Posted 04.09.2015 | Canada Living
Tsion Demeke Abate

The reality is that out of all Canadians living with HIV, more than one in four don't know they are living with it. And for those of us working with African, Caribbean and Black communities in Canada, it doesn't surprise us to learn that Joseph is a Black man. People from African, Caribbean and Black communities in Canada are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS.

Canadian Author Terezia Farkas: Bell Let's Talk Day Is About Hope

Terezia Farkas | Posted 03.30.2015 | Canada Living
Terezia Farkas

Bell Let's Talk day is about hope. It gives you a chance to take off your mask and talk about your pain. It allows you to mourn the loss of who you were and to say, "It's okay I'm like this now." It cracks open the darkness for a minute and gives you hope by letting you realize there are people who've made it out to the other side.

How I Learned To Deal With Bouts of Hypomania Caused By Bipolar Disorder II

Sandra Charron | Posted 03.08.2015 | Canada Living
Sandra Charron

Now that I've experienced stability in mild doses as my medication is regularly tweaked to find the right balance, I question myself often. Is my thought to return to school to get my Masters something I really want? Or is it residual hypomania egging me on? I still wake at night and watch as the thoughts battle each other for my undivided attention.

Let's Close the Access Gap in the Struggle Against AIDS

Claire Holloway Wadhwani | Posted 02.04.2015 | Canada Impact
Claire Holloway Wadhwani

Closing this access gap means expanding health systems to include grassroots outreach and the community-level advocates who lead the charge. It is well documented that village-level and even home-based HIV testing greatly improve rates of testing. The same is true for HIV education, counselling, and treatment follow-up.

No Pill Can Cure Mental Health Stigma

Marisa Lancione | Posted 01.05.2015 | Canada Living
Marisa Lancione

If you are among the lucky population who does react well to medication, taking a pill may allow you to work through the problems you're facing in therapy and hopefully you won't have to be on medication for the rest of your life. But the reality is that for some of us suffering from chronic mental illness, therapy isn't enough.

Why We Need To Remove the Stigma Around Men Who Seek Therapy

Carlen Costa | Posted 01.03.2015 | Canada Living
Carlen Costa

I started by telling you about my own experience in the world of abuse. I did this because those experiences are what helped me understand the importance of healing in light of a frightening situation. These women -- our sisters -- need our support and understanding to heal. But we cannot forget the men. At some point we are going to have to turn around and help heal this man. Many will think he is undeserving, but he too experienced trauma in his life which he has had to cope with. I'm not talking about forgiveness, I'm talking about compassion.

When Menstruation Is a Dirty Word, Girls Lose Out

Sabrina Rubli | Posted 10.19.2014 | Canada Impact
Sabrina Rubli

It won't surprise you to hear that women are among the world's most vulnerable populations. But it might surprise you to learn that one of the most difficult parts about being a woman is also one of the most natural: menstruation. A girl's transition into womanhood is often marked by the beginning of her menstrual cycle, an occasion that is celebrated in many cultures as an important rite of passage. But in many parts of East Africa, it marks the beginning of a lifetime of discomfort, embarrassing health problems, and even harassment. It marks the beginning of schoolyard bullying, missed days of school, and the start of a lifetime viewed as a sexual object.

The Stigma Of Mental Health Cost This 23-Year-Old His Life

Abigail Cukier | Posted 06.22.2014 | Canada Living
Abigail Cukier

Bruce and Lynn drove to their youngest daughter Emily's school to tell her that her brother had died by suicide. They next drove to London to pick up their other daughter, Aimee from university. Their cries filled the car along the highway. Lynn climbed in the backseat to hold Emily in her arms. At first, Aimee did not believe the news but slowly came to understand.

You Can Change Schizophrenia's Name, But the Stigma Will Be the Same

Marvin Ross | Posted 04.19.2014 | Canada Living
Marvin Ross

In the Western Hemisphere, the term salience syndrome has been suggested as an alternative to the term schizophrenia. But a study that attempted to see if changing the name would make any difference in people's responses to the mental illness found that it would not.

It Doesn't Matter What You Call Us - Stigma Hurts

Arthur Gallant | Posted 10.18.2013 | Canada Impact
Arthur Gallant

The most common titles I've heard mental health organizations and government use are: person with lived experience, survivor, advocate, patient, consumer, etc. However, I've heard some people take offence to one title while others asked to be described a certain way.

How Mental Health Conditions Are Dismissed By Family and Friends

Sarah Robertson | Posted 10.12.2013 | Canada
Sarah Robertson

Someone who suffers with any form of a diagnosed mental health condition such as anxiety, bi-polar disorder or depression, are usually not able to be as open with their family, friends or workplace. There are no predictions to how someone will feel when they wake up in the morning. Many times people are patted on the back and told they are just having a bad day, or to pretty much suck it up.

Let's Take Mental Illness Out of the Shadows

Diane Weber Bederman | Posted 06.23.2013 | Canada
Diane Weber Bederman

In the May 2006 report Out of the Shadows at Last, Prime Minister Harper appointed Senator Michael Kirby to create the Mental Health Commission of C...

Treating Mental Illness Like Physical Illness Is the First Step to Change

Diane Weber Bederman | Posted 05.19.2013 | Canada
Diane Weber Bederman

Imagine a truck driver collapses over the wheel and slams into a school bus killing eight children. He'd had a heart attack. Now imagine a man takes a gun, enters a theatre and shoots randomly, killing eight children. It seems he had an acute psychotic break. The truck driver probably won't go to jail. But the young man? He'll be maligned and incarcerated. In truth, neither one is to blame for their illness or the tragic unpredictable events.

The Fear of "Coming Out" With Mental Illness

Diane Weber Bederman | Posted 04.20.2013 | Canada
Diane Weber Bederman

The stigma that is still associated with mental illness keeps so many hidden away. Fear is our biggest enemy: fear of receiving the diagnosis; fear of accessing care; fear of others finding out; fear of those with mental illness. Twenty-seven per cent of the population are fearful of being around people who suffer from serious mental illness. It just isn't cool to have a mental illness. You don't see the famous or the infamous proudly wearing a bracelet identifying them with the needs of the mentally ill.

Let's Keep Talking about Mental Health

Stephanie Knaak | Posted 04.16.2013 | Canada
Stephanie Knaak

February 12 was Bell Let's Talk day. A day to talk about mental illness. A day to combat stigma. A day to say we need to allocate way more than 5 per cent of our heath spending dollars on a problem that affects over 20 per cent of the population. My friend Dawn is one of those people.

Let's Talk About Mental Health, Not "Evil"

Lauren Goodman | Posted 02.16.2013 | Canada
Lauren Goodman

The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting. "Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?

Is Education Enough to Fight AIDS?

Donald D'Haene | Posted 01.30.2013 | Canada
Donald D'Haene

World AIDS Day is Saturday. How will you remember and commemorate? Last year alone, 1.7 million people worldwide died as a result of AIDS-related causes. Their deaths must not be in vain. In their memory let us take a more proactive stance in observing this special day this year. End HIV stigma now is a good message. But how? Complacency about AIDS is a major problem and education is still our only vaccine. But sometimes, somewhat surprisingly, even the educated need educating.