The Mental Illness Awareness Week blog, sharing stories of recovery, personal experiences, and mental health/mental illness news.


Immune System Troubles Could Spark Behavior Woes

Fixing gene connected to immune system cured 'hair-pulling' disorder in mice, study found

In the first scientific illustration of exactly how some psychiatric illnesses might be linked to an immune system gone awry, researchers report they cured mice of an obsessive-compulsive condition known as "hair-pulling disorder" by tweaking the rodents' immune systems.

Although scientists have noticed a link between the immune system and psychiatric illnesses, this is the first evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship, said the authors of a study appearing in the May 28 issue of the journal Cell. The "cure" in this case was a bone marrow transplant, which replaced a defective gene with a normal one.

The excitement lies in the fact that this could open the way to new treatments for different mental disorders, although bone marrow transplants, which can be life-threatening in themselves, are not a likely candidate, at least not at this point.

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HealthDay News
By Amanda Gardner
May 27, 2010

Whitby students strive to stop the stigma of mental illness

Catholic school donates more than $2,000 to Ontario Shores foundation

How are you working to reduce the stigma?

Students at All Saints Catholic Secondary School are spreading the word about the need to reduce social stigma with the launch of the school's first Mental Health Awareness Week.

After recently attending a Stomp out Stigma Summit on mental health, a group of senior students at the Whitby school united to come up with ways to help the cause and raise money for Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health. "Not a lot of students are comfortable getting help or know that help is available," said Zachary Leveque-Wilson, member of the Stomp out Stigma group.

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Parvaneh Pessian
May 28, 2010


May is mental health month

Mental health services are not restricted to adults in North and South Delta.

A Canadian Psychiatric Association study found youth were not only facing enormous amounts of stress in their lives, they were also more likely to talk to a peer or not access any support at all than to turn to teachers, parents or professionals.

"Research indicates that the occurrence and severity of mental illness can be reduced through early intervention,"Turner said. "Young people and their families do suffer needlessly because of reluctance to access treatment and support. Increasing awareness of mental health issues among youth will result in a healthier community." Says Lynn Turner, executive director and operations manager, YouthNet Delta

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By Philip Raphael - South Delta Leader
May 27, 2010

Award comes as a surprise to Riverside resident

Dexter Roberts' struggles with mental illness an inspiration to many

Riverside resident Dexter Roberts didn't intend to be an inspiration to others, it just happened.

A resident of the Queen Street and Broadview Avenue area, the 39 year old was diagnosed with depression several years ago and has fought a tough battle to learn to cope with the ups and downs brought on by his illness.

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Joanina Lavoie
May 26, 2010


For mental-health patients, bank accounts are small assets with big payoffs

A bank account is a critical first step to independence for those suffering everything from depression to schizophrenia.

Banks were the last place Eliza felt comfortable.

People stared. There were lineups. The whole process was confusing, intimidating. When she first went with her social worker to get a bank account three years ago, she was so agitated that she verged on the hostile.

As months went by, though, and tellers greeted her by name, banking got easier. Eliza (not her real name) started to make eye contact with staff and chat about the weather. Nowadays, she goes every week on her own, and greets other customers in line.

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Tavia Grant
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, May. 25, 2010 4:17PM EDT


Modern lifestyles leave us feeling lonely

The fast pace of modern life is leaving people feeling increasingly isolated and lonely, a mental health charity claims.
The rise in individualism and family breakdown – and changes in relationships and the workplace – make it more difficult for us to connect with others, according to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

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How do you make time for face-to-face contact with friends and family?