Elephant in the Room is a national campaign initiated by Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) to improve awareness and combat the stigma and stereotypes associated with mental illness.
To that end, Northern Lakes College continued its outreach in the region following a prior session at McLennan campus another presentation took place at the Cabin in Falher on November 22.
The campaign is designed to shed light on the myriad of preconceptions associated with mental illness and to encourage people to address their concerns in a respectful and non-judgemental environment.
The campaign allows people to talk freely and ask questions related to their experience dealing with mental illness.
The campaiign logo is a blue elephant, which represents an understanding, compassionate environment where people are free to confide without being shamed or embarrassed.
Verna Wittigo, a Mental Health Recovery Worker and Mental Health Promotions Facilitator with Alberta Health Services in High Prairie presented both Northern Lakes College campus and the Falher sessions.
For people who need assistance, if in crisis, they should go to the hospital but if they just want to talk to someone, there is an access intake worker in High Prairie and walk-in single sessions from 1pm to 3pm on Thursdays. These services are also available at the health clinic in Peace River. A Wellness Recovery Action Plan, which is a self-managed initiative for dealing with psychiatric illness is available online.
Wittigo also reminds people who are not affected by mental illness to show respect and be mindful of the terminology they use.
Those wishing to contact Verna Wittigo or any organization, social group or business wishing to invite her to speak to its members can reach her at 780-532-6490.