Today is the first day of Canadian mental health awareness week


For most of his life, Adam Pitre says he hid behind a mask, too afraid and ashamed to tell people he suffered from mental illness but in 2015, things took a very dark turn. Pitre ended up in the hospital for two months, after trying to take his own life.

When he came out of the hospital, he vowed he wouldn’t hide anymore instead being vocal about his own experiences, to help eradicate the stigma around mental illness. Pitre says while it seems that more and more people are being open about their mental illness, society still has a ways to go.

Karen Rowa, a clinical psychologist at St Josephs west fifth campus who specializes in anxiety disorders, says the belief sufferers can just snap out of it, can be extremely hurtful to someone suffering.

According to the Canadian mental health association, one in five Canadians experience mental illness, but the CMHA says many people suffer in silence because of the stigma.