Written by Anita Levesque
Next week, October 5-11, 2014, is Mental Illness Awareness Week.
I know this week is important, but has it REALLY been given the attention it deserves in the past? I don’t think so.
When I heard the news of Robin Williams and saw the media attention, days and weeks following, it made me sad. Why does it always take the death of a celebrity to build the awareness of mental illness? Mental illness should be a DAILY awareness, not just when something unimaginable occurs.
Four days before Orlando da Silva became president of the Ontario Bar Association this month he heard the news that comedic genius Robin Williams had taken his own life.
“I imagined Robin Williams alone in his room, what went through his mind,” da Silva told TorStar News Service this week. “I can understand the thinking, I can understand the emotions.”
The new OBA president has also lived with the torment of depression, the sense of bone-deep worthlessness and lacerating self-disgust. He came close, in fact, to taking his own life.
It is probably the least likely place to expect a catwalk- the home of Canada’s Governor General in Ottawa. But on October 9th, guests such as Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, Olympian Clara Hughes and singer Susan Aglukark crowded Rideau Hall for the Mad Couture Catwalk show, an art-meets-fashion-meets-mental health awareness fashion show.