Statement made on 05 May 2009 by Senator Joan Cook (retired)
Hon. Joan Cook:
Honourable senators, May 4 to 10 is Mental Health Week in Canada. This national awareness week, spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association, provides citizens across the country with opportunities to learn more about the importance of mental health and how to achieve and maintain it in our daily lives. This year's theme focuses on mental health and the economy, with the slogan, "Now more than ever. . .Invest in yourself."
In a recently published study done by Desjardins Financial Security entitled Health Is Cool!, it was found that 44 per cent of Canadians are stressed about their finances. The current state of the economy and declining employment opportunities are increasing Canadians' concern and anxiety over their jobs, housing income and the cost of living. Through community events and activities, advertising campaigns and online information, Mental Health Awareness Week will offer Canadians tips on creating supportive relationships; reaching out to neighbours, friends, co-workers and family; staying fit and healthy through exercise and a proper diet; and seeking expert advice if faced with financial challenges.
In my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canadian Mental Health Association will host numerous events this week. On Monday, May 4, the week was kicked off with a symposium hosted by Geoff Chaulk, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Newfoundland Branch; and Colleen Simms, Regional Director of Mental Health and Addictions, Eastern Health. The symposium discussed my province's economy and how it affects us, as well as how Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should continue to invest in our mental health during these stressful economic times.
Honourable senators, I am proud to be a member of the board of a drop-in centre that was created for mental health consumers in the St. John's area called The Pottle Centre. The Pottle Centre will host an open house and information session this Thursday to help the community deal with the stresses of uncertain economic times.
In closing, I will leave honourable senators with this thought: Statistics show that one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental health problem at some point in their lives. Despite the fact that most of us know someone who has been or will be affected by mental illness, very few of us know much about it. I urge honourable senators to take some time this week to learn a bit more about mental health and the impact of difficult economic times. Together, we can create a mentally healthy Canada.