Clara Hughes  - Who Is NOBODY?

Just got back from a George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight live taping with guest Clara Hughes and Alan Thicke at CBC Television.

They’re both inspiring Canadians who are living passionately each day.

Clara Hughes is making a difference

Hughes is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater. She’s won multiple medals in both the summer and winter Olympics.

Additionally, Clara is a mental health advocate. It was a privilege to be in the same room with her. She shared her personal journey, gave some important facts about mental health and talked about Canada’s goals to improve the system for all Canadians.

You’ve likely seen Clara Hughes in Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Campaign. I’ve never cried during a commercial before but Clara’s honesty, dedication for change and willingness to reach out to others comes through long before the 33 second commercial ends.

Clara Hughes is SOMEBODY who uses her interests and abilities to help people with Mental Health.

Mental health facts

Here are some important facts about Mental Health that are relevant to EVERYBODY:

  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives.
    – Canadian Institute of Health Research
  • A 2008 poll found that only 50% of Canadians will tell a friend that a family member has a mental illness while 72% would disclose a cancer diagnosis.
    – Canadian Medical Association
  • Mental illness is the #1 cause of workplace disability.
    – Government of Canada, 2006
  • 1 in 3 people don’t get the care they need either because they are afraid to ask for help or they don’t have access to care.
    – Statistics Canada, 2003
  • At any given time almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression.
    – CMHA
  • Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population.
    – CMHA
  • Every day 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to a form of mental illness.
    – Government of Canada, 2006
  • Many people with anxiety disorders go undiagnosed for 10 years or more.
    – CMHA
  • 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection.
    – Mental Health Commission of Canada
  • Mental illness represents 15% of Canada’s burden of disease.
    – Institute of Health Economics, 2008
  • Only 5.5% of our healthcare dollars in Canada are dedicated to mental illness.
    – Institute of Health Economics, 2008

Mental Health Week

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s annual Mental Health Week takes place May 7th through 13th. The national awareness week provides Canadians with many opportunities to find out more about the importance of mental health, and how to achieve it in our daily lives.

George Stroumboulopoulos interviews Clara on CBC Television

We need to educate and encourage young people to share how they feel and to ask for help. We need them to learn to keep asking for help until they get the help they need and the respect they deserve.

Change starts with kids.

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