Mental Health Awareness Week 2006

Bermuda Community Shows Increasing Understanding of Mental Health Issues

Bermuda is becoming better informed about mental health conditions, according to research undertaken for the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) by Total Marketing Company. However, there is still a sizeable portion of the community who have a negative perception of people suffering from mental health conditions.

The results were released as part of Mental Health Awareness Week an international campaign being driven on the island by Bermuda’s mental health facility, the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI). This year’s theme, Changing Minds, Changing Times- Facing Mental Illness, focused on educating the public about mental health issues.

Patrice Dill, Director of MWI comments: “About one in five people in Bermuda will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Care and treatment today ensure that they can go on to enjoy life and work in the community. It is therefore very encouraging that over 72% of those polled realise that people with a mental illness do not pose a threat to others’ safety and 70% recognise that people with a mental illness can function normally in the community. Reducing the stigma associated with mental illnesses makes it more likely that people will seek help when it is needed and be able to talk to loved ones and family for support.”

The results show, however, that over a quarter of the Bermuda community still believe people with mental illnesses are a threat to others’ safety and are unable to function normally in society. These people were most likely to include residents older than 55 years of age and those with a higher household income.

Miss Dill added: “The results showed that people who know someone with a mental illness are most likely to have open minds about those suffering with a mental illness. We are very encouraged by these results and hope that Mental Health Awareness Week can help strengthen the understanding of mental health throughout the rest of community.”

Public activities during Mental Health Awareness Week:

· Reading of the Proclamation in the MWI lobby: Minister of Health & Family Services, Patrice Minors, 12 noon (Monday 9 October)
· Open house for schools at MWI, 10am to 2pm (Tuesday 10 October and Friday 13 October)
· Harbour Nights Display, Front Street, Hamilton (Wednesday 11 October)
· Legends of St Brendan’s Ball, Fairmont Southampton Hotel: Formal celebration of trailblazers in mental health in Bermuda, with dinner and entertainment. (Saturday 14 October) This event is now sold out.

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