August 12, 2005

Easing Stigma around Mental Illness

This story comes to us from Canada, where a group of family members are running the Labatt's 24 hour marathon to help researchers find cures for brain diseases, including schizophrenia, and to reduce stigma.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that:

"Relay for Life, is an annual fundraiser for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Foundation.

Every year, Ms. Kou organizes a team for the event, in which several groups of 15 to 20 people walk, crawl, run, play slo-pitch or do other activities over a 24-hour period. The relay kicks off its 17th year this weekend, with activities specially geared to draw children and families.

In addition to running, jogging, walking, or rolling wheelchairs around the 3.2-kilometre track, participants can attend yoga, tai chi, and break-dancing demonstrations, or enjoy live entertainment and overnight movies. The Children's Place, an area day care, will also offer child care for a limited time, so parents can participate."

The newspaper stated that almost $5 million has been raised in the event's 17-year history, and this year's relay is anticipated to result in donations of at least $200,000 for mental health research.

A great example, we believe, of how communities can raise awareness and research funding for schizophrenia.

Source: Ottawa Citizen newspaper



Hello my name is Ayala Karsh, and I am the Founder of Stop Calling Us Mentally Ill,


What happens to someone who is diagnosed with mental illness? Take a few minutes and think about it. I would love to hear answers either here or on our Message Board.

1. Since that person is part of the same society that is prejudiced against the mentally ill, realizes how people feel about the mentally ill, which now includes him or her.

2. They are embarrassed, including their families' shame, if they are not educated on the subject.

3. They are hiding in shame and pain

4. They lose self esteem and confidence

5. In some cases, people have written me that they feel like sub humans.

6. They must hide their illness in applying for jobs.

7. Their friends think the illness is contagious or something because they abandon those who suffer.

8. Now they are part of the group television and movies sensationalize about violence and the mentally ill, and other myths

9. Their families feel the shame and hide it from relatives and friends. They don't talk about the M word

10. Often, families who do not know how to deal with these illnesses, throw their loved one out and they become homeless.

Are these not enough reasons to stop calling anyone mentally ill? There are many other reasons, depending if you speak to a psychiatrist, a medical doctor or George Bush and our Congress who thinks it's fine to screen children for mental illness, without parents' knowledge or approval, with the MANDATORY SCREENING OF CHILDREN OR AS IN ILLINOIS CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN.

Most of the advocate groups either talk about mental illness or mental health. What is mental illness. Here is the definition of Webster's dictionary, in 2005 "Entry Word: mental
Function: adjective
of or relating to the mind
Synonyms: cerebral, intellective, intellectual, psychic, psychical, psychological
Related Words: immaterial, inner, spiritual; telepathic; intelligent, rational, reasoning, thinking; ideological
Contrasted Words: bodily, corporal, corporeal, physical, somatic; perceptive; sensual, sensuous ||
Synonyms: INSANE 1, ||fruitty, ||loco, lunatic, mad, maniac, mindless, non compos mentis, nuts, nutsy.

Should we still use the name mental illness in describing illnesses which are so horrific in themselves. Should we add pain and suffering to those who are afflicted with these disorders?

Ayala Karsh
Stop Calling Us Mentally Ill

Posted by: Ayala Karsh at August 13, 2005 10:22 PM

just wanted to say that i am writing a paper on the stigma of mental illness and i seen your website it has been helpful thankyou cory

Posted by: cory dillon at August 25, 2005 08:30 AM

I believe that Stigma is actually "menacing by stalking", a crime.

This crime has been committed against the mentally ill for recorded history. The criminals believe they are "protecting society" when in fact the hate and stigma cause harm. I am one of the many victims.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 15 years ago in the army. Instead of support for this medical problem, I was punished for symptoms of mental illness. They got me out of the army with documents claiming that I am failure.

How many people can show documents of stigma, and the negative impact on their life? Symptoms of a spinal cord tumor were ignored as mental health issues. Now I am paralyzed. Stigma is real. It can destroy lives. See my website if you want the documents and details:

Before I die I want someone to listen

Posted by: Michael John Lake at January 18, 2006 10:11 PM

Thanks for a beautiful site! I have added you in elected!
Necessarily I shall advise your site to the friends!
Best wishes for you!the astroforecast

Posted by: Bobi at June 19, 2008 03:37 PM

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