Every day someone new is diagnosed with a mental illness of some sort in Canada. This includes Depression, Bi-polar and Schizophrenia to name a few. Over the years since our son, Michael, disappeared at the age of 25 from Kelowna BC I have noticed a number of people  with a Mental Illness have gone missing. Unfortunately when someone goes missing with a Mental Health issue, it may not be reported immediately to the RCMP. Even if they are  reported missing often the public doesn’t hear about the disappearance for days. The amazing and scary part is that  a number of people with a mental illness go missing from the very facility they are being treated in. When someone with a mental health issue goes missing they can be a danger to them self and occasionally to other people. Although the incidents where someone with a mental illness has caused harm to someone is quickly spread with the media, making the stigma of mental illness glaringly obvious.

Mental Health is the most important health aspect in our lives and yet very little is done to help those with mental illness. If you have mental health problems  often physical health issues go hand in hand. This makes sense because if you are not feeling well mentally you certainly are not going to care about yourself physically. This is especially true with someone suffering from depression. Unfortunately depression pretty much accompanies most mental illnesses. When you are suffering from depression it is like trying to get through the day with 50 pound weights on your arms and legs. As you can imagine this can be exhausting and many people will end up sleeping their day away which only makes the depression worse because you have not enjoyed your day at all. It’s a vicious circle for any one suffering with mental illness.

When someone goes missing suffering from mental illness they are usually depressed. This should raise red flags for everyone but quite often it is not big news until they have been missing a few days. There are many people, including our son, who have gone missing while under the care of Mental Health Canada and are never found.  Of course suicide is the conclusion that most people will come to and sadly for many people suffering from depression taking their own life is a common occurrence. The stigma attached to mental health issues has been obvious to us since our son went missing. I have actually had people wave their hands as if waving away an annoying fly when I say our son suffers from schizophrenia, as if it’s a reasonable explanation for our missing son.  Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they are loved and missed any less than someone’s  missing healthy loved one!

Mental Health is not something that is discussed in schools as much as it should be, which is a shame because often Mental Illness begins in the teen years. This needs to change so that the youths of our society can get the help they need without feeling ashamed. We need to realize that mental illness is an illness like any other including cancer, diabetes etc. Mental Illness truly is a cancer of Mental Health and needs to be treated as soon as possible like any other illness or disease.

This month there has been a movement to declare BULL SHIT on the way society fails to support Mental Health for our youth. We need to have the support without the stigma for the thousands of young people in our country suffering from any form of Mental Illness. Please take the time to see the attached link.  The sooner someone is treated for Mental Illness the better the outcome.

Declaration to Declare Bull Shit  http://callbs.ca/#declare-bs

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/conditions/who-better-to-guide-the-walking-wounded-than-someone-whos-been-there/article543555/

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