Mental illness no joke

Oct. 2-8 is Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada.

Hello and welcome to the Mental Health Hot Line.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you’re schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are depressed, it doesn’t matter which number you press as no one will answer you.

Oct. 2-8 is Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada.

This is an annual national public education campaign designed to raise awareness and open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

Why do we even need a Mental Illness Awareness week, you might ask?

One out of five Canadians is affected by mental illness. For too long, Canadians with mental illnesses have been in the shadows. Too few Canadians know about the burden of mental illness on our society, and too few sufferers and their families seek help when they need it.

Though some do reach out, their story is often a tragic one.

One such person is local, successful businessman Gord Bylo, who has experienced the stigma of mental illness first-hand. For the past 10 years, he and his family have lived with the nightmare of having a son with schizophrenia and addiction issues, or what is known as a concurrent disorder.

Frustrated by his journey to help his son, Gord is motivated to tell his story in his desire to help erase the stigma of mental health and addictions.

“People need to know they are not alone – our society would be a much better place if we judged ourselves based on how we treat our most vulnerable,” says Gord. “Our citizens with mental  health issues and addictions need to be respected and cared for.”

With this goal in mind, Gord has collaborated with JOY TV (part of ZoomerMedia) to create a 26-episode television series called State of Mind.

As a former healthcare manager of addictions, I was approached to help produce this series. Our first 13 episodes – which will be taped Oct. 11-14 – will cover not only Gord’s moving story but other timely and relevant topics.

We have some amazing guests who will appear in studio, including medical experts and professionals in the field of addictions and behavioural psychology.

One of our episodes will feature the story of a teenage alcoholic. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have a wealthy senior who was a “closet” drinker and has now been sober for 25 years. Both of these people have turned their lives around and will share their stories.

A “perfect” young married woman who will speak openly about her depression and who now “blogs” about it. A man addicted to technology who went “offline” for a year and wrote a book about his experience.

Real people with real stories.

Mental illness doesn’t just affect the people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It affects everyone from all walks of life and from every socioeconomic strata of society.

That means you and me, our family, our friends, our colleagues and our neighbours.

I invite you to be a part of the audience on Oct. 11-14 inclusive, as we tape State of Mind live in our JOY TV studios at 204-5668 192 Ave. Contact me for more information at or 604-536-8717.

Because mental illness is no laughing matter.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building for 1485 Fir St. (Contributed rendering)
Majority voice support for 80-unit rental redevelopment in White Rock

Resident fearful of being priced out of the city, council told at public hearing

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

An electric vehicle charging station in front of Hope’s municipal hall, district hall. (Photo: Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
40 electric vehicle charging stations planned for Surrey

Funding coming from all three levels of government

Guildford Seniors Village, located in Surrey. (Image: Google Maps)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreaks over at 2 Surrey care homes

Outbreaks over at The Emerald at Elim Village, Guildford Seniors Village

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden arrives at U.S. Capitol for inauguration

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read