blogathon: blogging for the canadian mental health association

bill* started participating with CMHA’s recreation program in 1999. his first event was a four-day camping trip with four staff and twenty-three other participants who he had never met before. bill made an instant impression though – he wore a big black cowboy hat and bermuda shorts, and displayed a genuine appreciation for the opportunity to be out of the city and surrounded by nature. he joked with staff, and entertained the night owls who encircled the campfire until the wee hours. ever since that first camping trip, bill has been a regular participant with recreation services.

to this day he still exhibits the enthusiasm that was so apparent back on the first event he attended. over the years bill has shared much of his personal story, and it has become apparent why he has such a love for life.he has overcome many obstacles to be where he is today. from his teenage years forward, he was in trouble. he was kicked out of several high schools and did over twenty stints in jail before he was 21 years old.

bill was stealing to buy drugs that he now realizes he used to ‘self-medicate’ his mental illness. bill beat the odds though. he credits a stint in riverview hospital with helping him kick his addictions and begin his recovery from mental illness. he was properly supported in the community when transitioning out of the hospital with group housing and ongoing one-to-on rehabilitation.he overcame all of his addictions – today he doesn’t even smoke. he recently converted to a low fat diet after being informed that he has high cholesterol levels.

compared to the lifestyle changes he has made in the past, giving up burgers and fries was a snap. the recreation program is an important component to bill’s recovery, and continues to be a part of his life to this day. whether it’s a bc lions’ football game, a movie, or a barbecue in the park, bill gets everything he can from life – although now he usually opts for the veggie dog!

* stories are based on actual individuals but names and identifying information have been altered to protect the anonymity of our service users.

each year, the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch) supports over 1000 people in their recovery from mental illness, while promoting understanding and knowledge throughout the community to literally thousands more.

mental illness affects people from all walks of life, at every income and age level. mental illness has a significant impact not only on the person directly affected, but also on family members, friends, employers, and the public at large. more often than not, people with a mental illness find their opportunities limited and their recovery impaired by a lack of support, information, and understanding.

CMHA’s response to the crisis of mental illness in our community is uniquely wide-ranging, from prevention, education, and information services, right through to rehabilitation and community support to those recovering from illness. We have a track record of developing many of the most innovative and effective new approaches available in the community today.

through varied services the CMHA addresses key challenges surrounding mental illness:

  1. preventing illness & distress: by supporting healthy lifestyles of those at risk
  2. tackling stigma & ignorance: by providing the confidence to recognize and respond
  3. reducing isolation: by developing the skills and opportunities to meet personal goals
  4. creating independence: by supporting employment and entrepreneurial aspirations

and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why i just spent 24 hours blogging. i am proud to be part of this organization, as a member of CMHA vancouver/burnaby’s board of directors.

if you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment – no, not 24 hours, just a moment – to learn a bit more about the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch), and please consider a donation .

(here i am, blogging away)

i would also once again like to acknowledge and thank, thank, thank my fellow bloggers who blogged for their own charities – from union gospel mission the to david suzuki foundation. it’s been a blast!

in vancouver, pulled together by the marvelous miss604:

and, thanks to the efforts of day of blogs, people all over the internet:

animal rights
trish is blogging for bay state equine rescue .
is blogging for the aspca .
kristin is blogging for the aspca .
the kapp pack
is blogging for mapaw siberian husky rescue .
erica is blogging for the aspca .
ellie is blogging for the aspca .
miss raye is blogging for wild horse rescue .
steve, kat, & wilbur are blogging for save our siberians siberspace rescue fund .
amie is blogging for world wildlife federation .
clairity is blogging for the aspca .
melissa is blogging for vital ground .
rachel is blogging for paws atlanta .

human rights
twyla is blogging for not for sale .
malagasy bloggers are blogging for zaza-vavy .
hilary is blogging for amnesty international .
brittany is blogging for invisible children .
starbase karma sci fi fan club is blogging for us campaign for burma .

poverty relief
jessica is blogging for sera je food fund .
linda is blogging for the christian children’s fund .

khouria jen is blogging for first book .
lindsey is blogging for first book .
lindsey is blogging for children’s literacy initiative .
shadarus is blogging for first book.

children/youth advocacy
karrie is blogging for the home for little wanderers .
nicki is blogging for camp to belong .
jeff is blogging for the tim horton children’s foundation .
tara is blogging for victory junction gang camp .
penni is blogging for the kasey kahne foundation .
jenny is blogging for the american society for deaf children .
crc is blogging for children’s hospice & palliative care coalition .

medical research
nikki is blogging for band of parents .
stephen is blogging for the autism clinic at montreal children’s hospital .
[title of group] is blogging for avert .
jen is blogging for st. jude children’s research hospital .
jessi is blogging for autism speaks .
jen is blogging for the american cancer society .
jl is blogging for aicr .
stefanie is blogging for st. jude’s children’s research hospital .
jennifer is blogging for amyloidosis research foundation .
aurora lamour is blogging for the national fibromyalgia association .
adam is blogging for the american cancer society .
bunni is blogging for band of parents.

renee is blogging for the depression and bipolar support alliance .
jennifer is blogging for jenny’s light .
scheherazade in blue jeans is blogging for the boston area rape crisis center .
marika is blogging for the national fibromyalgia association .
ellen is blogging for the american foundation for suicide prevention .
josie is blogging for guide dogs for the blind .
l-squared is blogging for leader dogs for the blind .
jenna is blogging for texas scottish rite hospital .
mj is blogging for helping uplift grieving survivors (hugs) .
clutterbug jen is blogging for the american cancer society .
reixe dyri is blogging for alzheimer’s association .
heather is blogging for national alliance on mental illness .
hope is blogging for rainn .
elizabeth is blogging for rainn .
gina is blogging for rainn .
moira is blogging for teenage cancer trust .
becky is blogging for rainn .
anna is blogging for planned parenthood mohawk hudson .
letterblade is blogging for planned parenthood .
isabella is blogging for canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch) .
cara is blogging for rainn .
melissa is blogging for kristen brooks hope center .
erin is blogging for rainn .

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