Wednesday, September 26, 2007

MAD Student Society

Mad Students Society (MSS) is an organization run by and for students. MSS was created to provide peer support, advocacy and self-empowerment for students experiencing "mental health" issues in post-secondary institutions. You can check them out at the following website.

Whether you have a diagnosed mental illness or whether you just wonder if there is something "just not quite right," it is a good idea for all college students to have some information about mental illness. This is the age group where problems of this kind can start to show up and students often have misconceptions about what mental illness is. They think it can't happen to them.

Recently Margaret Trudeau,the former wife of Pierre Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada from 1968-1979)spoke in Belleville. She did not believe that she had a mental illness for many years and spoke of the poor decisions and choices she made; the suffering she put herself and loved ones through and her great delight in being well now and being able to encourage others to seek help. She told the audience that she is often called courageous to be so public about what is often seen as a shameful illness. Margaret Trudeau said she did not feel like it took courage; she just felt so happy to finally understand she had an illness that could be treated and she wanted to encourage anyone who is struggling to at least ask for help and get assessed.

Check out the posters around the school. “Face Mental Illness” features ordinary people who are out of the closet about their mental illness – face the reality of mental illness by learning more about it.

“Too few Canadians know about the burden of mental illness on our society, and too few sufferers seek help when they need it. Mental Illness Awareness Week seeks to raise awareness of the level of mental illness in Canada; to reduce negative stigma about mental illness amongst the general population and health care professionals…” MIAW

Mental Illness can happen to anyone, at any age. The World Health Organization says it is 4th in the top 10 disabilities world wide. One of the best strategies to prevent illness of any kind is making a commitment to yourself –Maintain balance with basic self care. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, physical activity, relaxation and a good support network of family and friends.

Some people view mental illness from a biomedical model; seeing it as a result of genetics and neurochemistry. Others view it from a psychosocial perspective; linking it to “life events.”
Both points of view have validity and however you view it, the stats are significant enough to suggest everyone will be touched by it in some way over their life – be it a family member, loved one, friend, co-worker or self.

This web site features the stories of the people you see in the “Face Mental Illness” posters around the school. The website also has lots of information on mental illness and the impact it has on individuals, families and communities.

Some great sites for information on mental illnesses.

This site is a good site for holistic information specific to depression. It also has a discussion group moderated by health professionals.

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