Mental Illness Awareness Week: What You Need to Know

Mental Illness Awareness Week Blog

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual Canadian public education campaign running September 30 to October 6 this year. It was designed to help educate Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week began in 1992 when the Canadian Psychiatric Association launched it. Today it is coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). CAMIMH member organizations and many other supporters across Canada participate in the week.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from mental illness;
  • 1 in 25 young adults (age 18-35) in Ontario, or 119,000 individuals, experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with, or limits, one or more major life activities (e.g. work, school, relationships, housing);
  • Up to 60% of young adults (27,000 in Ontario) with Bipolar Disorder will attempt suicide at least once in their lives AND up to 19% (8,600 in Ontario) of young adults will complete suicide, often more than a year following their first attempt; and
  • They are at high risk of homelessness, high use of hospital ER services and psychiatric hospitalization, involvement with the justice system and incarceration, unemployment and disengagement from family and friends. These issues have a huge cost to society.

In Canada the annual costs for persons struggling with homelessness and mental illness have been estimated to be $53,144 per person (research published 2017, by At Home Chez Soi – AHCS). The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that the annual costs associated with homelessness, in Toronto, are estimated to be $59,000 per person.

  • 40% of these costs are due to health services, including substance-use treatment, emergency room visits and psychiatric services ($23,600);
  • 25% of these costs are due to legal issues, including incarceration, police interaction and court appearances ($14,750);
  • 14% of these costs are due to the cost of shelters and supported housing ($8260);
  • Health, legal issues and shelters cost money. People without a home, and lacking supports for mental illness and addiction, draw significantly on services including hospitals, social assistance, shelters, and social services . They also interact more frequently with police, fire and paramedic services; and
  • The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 12.7% of mental health patients in Ontario have at least 3 hospital stays in a year (2016-2017). In 2016-2017 the cost of a Standard Hospital Stay in Ontario was $5,360, or $16,080 for three hospital stays.

Although there are a wide variety of community-based mental health services and a few short-term residential treatment programs across Canada, there are no long-term recovery-based programs in Canada to help young adults with serious mental illness.

There are outstanding models of recovery throughout the world. Eli’s Place is based on the Gould Farm, an American long term, rural treatment and recovery program that has been in existence for 104 years, and has 15 years of continuous outcome research to back up the success of the program.

The first of its kind in Canada, Eli’s Place, based on the Gould Farm, will offer individualized therapeutic care with a graduated transition into the community.  A range of programs will promote recovery and resilience through the acquisition of life and work skills needed to move from survival to living, and from mental illness to hopeful futures.

Eli’s Place will open in 2021. It will be located in central Ontario.

Where Recovery Matters – Every donation matters!  Donate today.

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This March, CanadaHelps will make an additional one-time donation of $20 for every new monthly gift of $20 or more in support of Eli’s Place!*