The Douglas Mental Health University Foundation has launched a new initiative to raise funds for mental health research.
Giant blocks of hope have been popping up around Montreal leading up to World Mental Health Day.
They serve to remind people that research on mental health is vital and is a base for building a better health network for those who suffer from mental illness.
Douglas Foundation Executive Director Laura Fish says the blocks are to help people understand that together, a better future for those who suffer can be built.
“The idea is to spark a call to action,” she says. “We don’t have a financial goal but we want people to donate money for a cause that tends to be overlooked.”
Fish uses the Montreal Heart Institute as an example.
“They raise approximately $25 million a year. At the Douglas, which is the largest psychiatric teaching and research facility in Quebec, the second largest in Canada, we raise only between $2 and $3 million.”
According to recent stats provided by Douglas, one in three Canadians will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime, yet the topic remains taboo for many.
Mental illness makes up approximately 38 per cent of illnesses for Canadians under 65, but it only receives five per cent of the total amount spent on treatment and prevention.
Mental illness is the main cause of short and long-term disability in Canada.
Health experts say the conversation around mental illness is getting louder as more public figures speak out and seek help.
Just last week, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price received a wave of support from fans after revealing he will be taking time off to focus on his health.
He follows Jonathan Drouin, who took time off last season and admitted he suffers from anxiety.
McGill University Sports Psychologist Professor Dr. Gordon Bloom says it’s important not to judge.
“Just sort of take the approach of this is great, it’s proactive, take care of yourself, put yourself and your family first,” he says.
Both Bloom and Fish say nobody questions a physical illness, especially when an athlete needs to sit out, and hope in the near future those who suffer from mental illness will receive the same support.