Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann speaks out on the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction

Edmonton, AB (May 3, 2016):

Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann made this statement on the stigma surrounding mental illness and addictions:

“Perhaps the greatest obstacle to effective mental health treatment today is the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. Stigma, and the shame it causes, greatly limits our ability to discuss and treat the mental health issues affecting our society.

“Mental illness and addictions can be an intensely frightening experience. The fear of being dismissed, labelled, or shunned by society discourages those experiencing mental illness or addiction from finding proper care. Left to struggle in isolation and shame, they suffer deeply and in secret – often until it is too late. 

“The further tragedy is that this is entirely preventable. Mental illness is not shameful; it affects one in five people across the country. Every one of us has been touched by mental illness, whether in ourselves, a co-worker, friend, or family member, and the best thing we can do for them is create an environment where they feel safe and comfortable speaking about their struggle.

“During this year’s Mental Health Week, it’s up to us to change the conversation surrounding mental health so we can create that environment. The Canadian Mental Health Association has chosen #GETLOUD as their theme for this week so let’s all #GETLOUD about mental health – and show that we care for those suffering in silence.”