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


Member Blog: The Schizophrenia Society of Canada

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) is a national registered charity that has been in operation since 1979. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia and psychosis through education, support programs, public policy and research. We work with 10 provincial societies to help individuals with schizophrenia and their families have a better quality of life while we search for a cure. At SSC we are committed to:
·         Raising awareness and educating the public to help reduce stigma and discrimination
·         Supporting families and individuals
·         Advocating for legislative change and improved treatment and services
·         Supporting research through the SSC Foundation and other independent efforts

Schizophrenia and psychosis are serious mental illnesses. Three percent of Canadian men and women will experience psychosis. One in one hundred will experience some form of schizophrenia. While these conditions are rare in childhood, they usually have their onset in the mid-to late teen years.

Mental illnesses are real. The heartache is real that families struggle with. But beyond the limitations of mental illness is possible. People living with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis have talents, goals and feelings just like anyone else. Yet mental illness can have a profoundly negative effect, not only in the lives of those living with it, but their families and their communities. Individuals living with mental illness and their families are often shunned, becoming the targets of social prejudice. People living with schizophrenia may also face poverty, homelessness and high risk for suicide.

In Canada mental health services are in short supply, especially recovery-oriented mental health services. The solutions are complex, not simple, because mental illnesses are complex as are all humans. As humans we are not just "biochemical." We are body (biological), mind (psychological), social (sociological), spirit (spiritual) and relational (communal). To reduce human behaviour or treatment down to one mere dimension is "reductionistic," a fatal philosophy. "Ask not what illness a person has, but rather what person the illness has." Mental health services have to be holistic, geared towards the totality of what it means to be human.
Recovery is more possible when all issues of life are addressed from a compassionate, healing perspective. Many people with enduring mental illness need the help of medication, but just as many if not more need hope, acceptance, social inclusion, a safe place to live, adequate income, help with unresolved trauma, addictions, spiritual healing, and a “relationship” with their mental health service provider or those who attempt to help. Much of what they need is not found in a medication. Love, healing and acceptance are more than medication. There are many people on medications who are not happy or leading a life of quality, but living in bondage to some of the things listed above. And yet, many people are blessed by having a medication that helps in their recovery!

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