FILOMENA TASSI COLUMN: End mental health stigma

Ancaster News
By Filomena Tassi

Mental health is a part of almost everyone’s life. It touches all of us: some experience mental illness personally, some of us interact with someone who has mental illness. Modern life isn’t easy and many people struggle to maintain a healthy balance in all aspects of life.

Earlier this month, Canadians celebrated Mental Health Week, a time for everyone to remember that looking after our mental health and well-being is important. We are also reminded to stop the stigma of mental illness by opening our minds and hearts to those who live with challenges.

During Mental Health Week, many parliamentarians rose to give their perspectives on mental health. On Tuesday, May 3, I was honoured to #GETLOUD in the House of Commons.

Mental health is often considered secondary to physical health. This is wrong. Mental health is integral to our overall health. Our government has stated the importance of access to mental healthcare. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, specified that she should increase the availability of “high quality mental health services…to Canadians who need them.”

As a high school chaplain, I witnessed how young people’s lives can be devastated when mental health services are inadequate. As well, the need for mental health supports is acute among our seniors and indigenous peoples.

I applaud the ongoing and often heroic efforts of all mental health advocates in Hamilton. Caring for mental health contributes to strong communities. There are many agencies and organizations working tirelessly to provide much-needed services throughout our community.

Schools across Hamilton are also creating environments that promote and protect the mental health and well-being of young citizens. I have urged my colleagues, all Members of Parliament across all five parties, to ensure access to the mental health resources and supports required for all Canadians to reach their full potential.

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