Not Myself Today is a campaign currently underway

Not Myself Today is a campaign currently underway

Not myself today

Partners for Mental Health holding Not Myself Today campaign - raising awareness about mental health

We’ve all had days when we just don’t feel like ourselves.

But for those struggling with mental health issues, the bad days often outnumber the good.

The days filled with anxiety, stress and/or depression is something Dianne Perrier has struggled with since she was 11.

She still recalls the panic attacks she would have as a child, even in church where she would shake so bad that the entire pew would shake with her.

“I always carried the stigma of mental health with me,” said Perrier, recalling how cruel kids at school could be.

Despite her own personal struggles, Perrier pressed on with her life. She tried to escape, moving out of town to establish a relationship with a boyfriend.

But that only made her problems worse.

She tried to stay in the emotionally and physically abusive relationship until she could no longer bear it.

The resulting actions of the breakup nearly killed her, and along with scars on her skull, Perrier now lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Her journey included numerous hospital visits, health centre stays and even suicide attempts.

She has been unable to work since 1995 and is on disability.

Despite all she has been through, and continues to battle, today the mother, and now grandmother,  is managing, both her symptoms and life.

“I am blessed and  thankful for what I have.”

And while her own experiences are extreme, there are hundreds of others trying to make it through the day with their own mental illness.

The reality is, most cannot function in their day-to-day tasks.

Which is why the Partners for Mental Health has created the Not Myself Today campaign – which is currently underway and culminates on Not Myself Day at Work June 6.

The campaign is designed around the critical importance of a mentally healthy workplace.

Businesses are urged to promote Not Myself Today by investing in workplace mental health and/or by engaging their employees (which can include bringing attention to programs and resources offered by the company and/or community).

“The cost of doing nothing is enormous,” said Perrier, pointing to some statistics.

Each day, 500,000 Canadians miss work due to mental health issues. The cost to the Canadian economy is $51 billion per year and $6.3 billion annually in lost productivity.

One in three disability claims are mental health related and only 23 per cent of people with mental health issues feel safe enough to ask for help.

In fact, seven million (or one in five) Canadians will experience a mental health problem this year.

“As someone who has struggled with mental health I feel strongly that this is a cause to be supported,” said Perrier.

Which is why she will be championing the cause at a booth in the Village Green Centre Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in supporting the campaign, getting their workplace involved or for more information can visit her over the weekend or click on to www.notmyselftoday.ca