Published on April 29th, 2016 | from CAMH
Mental illness can be life-threatening, but there is hope
By Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist, Work, Stress and Health Program, CAMH
Earlier this month, we heard the heart-wrenching news that a mother and son in Richmond Hill had died and that there was a connection to mental illness. In a written statement, the Costa family explained that mother and son had a “strong and undeniable bond,” and that “this unspeakable tragedy…was the result of a loving and protective mother trying to save her son from harming himself.”
I was deeply saddened by this tragic news and my thoughts and extend to the Costa family, friends and those impacted by this sad loss my deep sympathies. We must not forget that mental illness can be life-threatening, and that that 1 in 3 Canadians during their lifetime will experience a brain-related illness such as depression, addiction or schizophrenia.
The Costa family’s bravery in speaking out publicly about their experience is exceptional. This again highlights the significance of talking about mental illness publicly if we are going to make real change and prevent such loss in the future.
While we often read about the most severe cases of illness and loss, it is also important to remember that most people with mental illness do experience long-term recovery and wellness. Mental illnesses are treatable and people can and do recover their best lives.
If you or your loved one is experiencing mental health challenges, please seek help. There is hope.
This is not to diminish or sidestep the reality that many people, especially young people, struggle to access the care they need, or that we can do better in the treatments that we offer.
Mental illness must start to receive its fair share of funding in relation to physical illness, and in proportion to the impact that mental illnesses have on all of us. We must continue that work so that everyone can access the care they need.
Professionals at CAMH are also working tirelessly to translate breakthroughs in the research lab into new treatment options. We are seeing progress in these arenas and we are dedicated to keeping the momentum going so we can stop mental illness from destroying lives.
Though it’s important to speak publicly about mental illness, it is equally important to reach out when you need help. Here is a list of resources for you and your family.
- For mental health services in your area
- Help others with Mental Health First Aid
- Kids Help Phone
- Support groups for families
- Information about mental health