This week, 1st - 7th October, is MIAW. "MIAW?" we hear you ask. Yes, Mental Illness Awareness Week, the national public education campaign, established in 1992, designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

We at Arrowhead Clubhouse will be marking the week in several ways. But before we tell you about those, we'll start by sharing a few statistics that will help paint a realistic picture of mental illness here in Canada. Here are our Top Five Facts:

• In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
• By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
• Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
• Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
• The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998. An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system. (Reference - Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2013 - https://cmha.ca/about-cmha/fast-facts-about-mental-illness)
At the clubhouse in Sechelt our mission is to support our members who are living with serious chronic mental illness on their journey to recovery. This is done by creating opportunities through the use of our facility, support programs, our housing initiative, and our ability to build a bridge with the wider community. This coming week for example we are setting up a stall and display in Trail Bay Mall on Friday 5th from 11am to 1pm. This will give us a chance to tell the community what we are all about - come along to say hello, find out more and pick up our new brochure.

On Saturday 6th we are super excited to be heading to the Gibson's Heritage Playhouse to watch an evening of Stand-Up Comedy with host Toby Hargrave, special guest Harris Anderson and headliner Charlie Demers. These three great stand-up comedians will be raising funds in support of Arrowhead Clubhouse - https://heritageplayhouse.com/events/tba-2/

If you can't make either of these events but would like to find out more about Arrowhead Clubhouse or mental health in general, please pop in and say hello. We are located at 5554 Inlet Avenue, Sechelt (opposite the Post Office).

Before we sign off, as this week is about the realities of mental illness we thought we would take this chance to bust a few myths ...

Myth #1: Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses.
Fact: Mental illnesses are not the regular ups and downs of life. Mental illnesses create distress, don’t go away on their own, and are real health problems with effective treatments. When someone breaks their arm, we wouldn’t expect them to just “get over it.” Nor would we blame them if they needed a cast, sling, or other help in their daily life while they recovered.
Myth #2: People don’t recover from mental illnesses.
Fact: People can and do recover from mental illnesses. Today, there are many different kinds of treatments, services, and supports that can help. The fact is, people who experience mental illnesses can and do lead productive, engaged lives. They work, volunteer, or contribute their unique skills and abilities to their communities. Even when people experience mental illnesses that last for a long time, they can learn how to manage their symptoms so they can get back to their goals.
Myth #3: People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.
Fact: Whether you realize it or not, workplaces are filled with people who have experienced mental illnesses. Mental illnesses don’t mean that someone is no longer capable of working. Some people benefit from changes at work to support their goals, but many people work with few supports from their employer. Most people who experience serious mental illnesses want to work but face systemic barriers to finding and keeping meaningful employment.