Breaking down the stigma of mental illness one conversation at a time

t’s always incredibly gratifying and inspiring to see community leaders respond when they’re asked for help. At yesterday’s Leaders for Mental Health breakfast, more than $550,000 was raised to support the work of the Royal Ottawa Foundation.

Almost a thousand people heard the stories, sometimes uplifting, sometimes devastating, of people affected by mental illness. They also learned how research is leading to extraordinary progress, like treatment that can actually reduce or eliminate suicidal thoughts. But the audience wasn’t just encouraged to donate money. They were also asked to reach out to people living with mental health challenges and start a conversation with them. That kind of dialogue is a crucial frontier.

While we’ve done a lot to break down the stigma of mental illness and develop new treatments and diagnoses, we still have a lot of work to do. Some of that comes down to money for research. But much of it can happen one relationship at a time, in your home, in your workplace, in your community. In the fight against mental illness we are all on the front lines.

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