Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.
One of MIAW’s major initiatives is the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, a national outreach campaign featuring the stories of Canadians living in recovery from mental illness. Thousands of pieces of MIAW posters, brochures, and bookmarks featuring the Faces are disseminated to hundreds of organizations across Canada in an effort to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness.
This year also marks the addition of a new component of MIAW: the Faces of Mental Illness Breakfast. This marquee event takes place in October and brings together Members of Parliament, prominent decision makers, the Faces from the Faces of Mental Illness campaign, and CAMIMH members to express support for current mental health initiatives and engage in a discussion regarding the need for increased access to mental health services for all Canadians.