Mr. Speaker, many people who are living with a mental illness report that the negative stereotypes about mental illness cause them more suffering than the illness itself. As a result, two-thirds of those suffering from mental illness are too afraid to seek the help they need.
Mental illness affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. It can take many forms, including depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. The stigma is a key barrier that stops people from seeking help.
Stigma has surrounded many diseases in the past. Imagine somebody feeling ashamed for having cancer or scorning people with cancer. However, concerted efforts to confront these attitudes resulted in a change for the better around these physical diseases, including better treatment, more funding for research and greater understanding from family, friends and colleagues.
The goal is to achieve the same level of acceptance and understanding regarding mental illness. Something as simple as being nice can save a life. Let us talk about mental illness.