- Peace of Minds Campaign Reveals the Widespread Impact of Disease on Society -
More than half a million people in Ontario are either living with schizophrenia or are directly impacted by someone close to them who is suffering from the disease. Today, The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) is launching Peace of Minds, its most forceful campaign ever to raise awareness about schizophrenia and to generate support for vital programs to help those impacted by this crushing mental disease. "After struggling for decades to end the stigma and misinformation about this disease, we decided it was time to reveal the dramatic impact of schizophrenia on our entire community," says Mary Alberti, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario."
A multi-year initiative, Peace of Minds comprises four key program areas and launches today with a scaled-up support initiative that includes a toll-free help line and online Ask the Expert feature. For many, these services can be the first stop upon learning that they, or someone close to them has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. For the 1 in 100 Ontarians who have or will develop schizophrenia and the family, friends, co-workers, fellow students, and everyone else in the individual's life, this resource can literally be a lifeline. A pilot version has already been accessed by more than 3,000 Ontarians, many who live in rural areas and have no other place to turn for support and guidance.
"When a diagnosis of schizophrenia is first made, it sets off a search for information and help that can be a frustrating and friendless process," says Alberti. "Our Ask the Experts service provides what is often the first welcoming voice people hear. We passionately believe that absolutely no one should have to face this disease alone."
Through peer education, social media, corporate engagement and public outreach, the Peace of Minds campaign will use real stories about real people to open up a world most don't even know exists. It also emphasizes schizophrenia does not play out in a vacuum. It is a disease that impacts communities, and demands a community response.