Facing Facts - Mental Illness
Putting the Elephant on the Table
One in 5 Albertans will develop a mental illness in their lifetime. It could be your spouse, partner or child. It could be your parent, brother, sister or other family member. It could be a friend or a colleague at work. Or, it could be you. Mental illness touches all segments of our campus community and, directly or indirectly, it will impact you.
Although a wide range of programs and services are available to both staff and students, stigma remains a significant barrier to individuals recognizing mental illness and taking the steps to access help, or gain the knowledge to help others.
Organizational Health and Effectiveness (formerly Health Promotion and WorkLife Services), launched Facing Facts, an on-going program designed to tackle the stigma of mental illness, with the goal to raise awareness, dispel myths and encourage a healthy dialogue about mental illness.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a serious disturbance in thoughts, feelings and perceptions that is severe enough to affect day to day functioning. Primarily due to media portrayal, people associate the term "mental illness" with disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. However, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, addictions, dementia and Alzheimer's disease are additional examples of mental illness.
Why the Elephant?
The term Putting the Elephant on the Table
refers to a problem or controversial issue that is obvious, but which is ignored by a group of people, potentially out of embarrassment or taboo. The term can be used to initiate discussion for an issue that ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgement that the issue is there and is not going to go away by itself.